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Glasgow Subway operator SPT meets today over cash crisis

GLASGOW SUBWAY operator Strathclyde Partnership for Transport has sounded a warning about the Subway’s finances as a result of the pandemic, and members of SPT are meeting today to discuss the growing cash crisis.

SPT said it had been calling on the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland for help since the lockdown began in March.

Councillor Dr Martin Bartos, who chairs SPT, said: ‘Not a day has gone by when the Subway hasn’t operated and we’ve followed government’s lead on doing so safely for staff and passengers.

‘Most of our revenue comes from Subway income which is directly related to passenger numbers. The situation was highlighted to Transport Scotland as early as 30 March by which time we’d already experienced a 97 per cent fall in passenger journeys. Now, depending on how much longer lockdown and distancing restrictions need to remain, SPT has identified a potential deficit of between £12.5 million and £20 million for the current financial year.

‘Meantime we’ve watched two rounds of government financial support announcements for private bus companies, we’ve seen government stepping in to take on heavy rail losses and we’ve even seen UK government supporting London Underground and light rail across England.

‘Unfortunately we’ve seen not a penny in Covid-19 support come to SPT to help either our bus or Subway efforts.

‘We’ve been left without the slightest indication from Transport Scotland or the cabinet secretary about when SPT might see any actual financial support which recognises the huge losses incurred as our staff have done their bit.’

Transport Scotland told Railnews: ‘The Scottish Government is providing financial support for public transport to maintain essential services. We continue to monitor travel patterns across the country as we emerge from lockdown measures and work closely with local and regional partners as we do this.

‘We appreciate the important role which the subway and trams play in our two biggest cities and have undertaken detailed discussions with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Edinburgh Trams to understand the implications of Covid-19. We are currently exploring what appropriate support may be available in the context of the very challenging financial situation, our published “COVID-19: Framework for Decision Making” and the Transport Transition Plan.’

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