The boss of the partnership which operates the Glasgow Subway has said he is disappointed with a new £4 million funding package and warned of cuts.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has been given a share of the cash with Edinburgh Trams to ensure Subway and tram services will be able to continue until the end of the year in response to Covid-19.
But SPT chairman Martin Bartos said the level of funding leaves the organisation, which supports local bus routes as well as the Subway, facing a deficit which “means cuts to our capacity to support public transport”.
Mr Bartos said the package is “disappointing” when compared to the funding provided to rail services in Scotland.
He said: “The extension of emergency Subway support until the end of 2020 hopefully means we will be able to cover the current losses from Subway operations from July to the end of December.
“The funding package is disappointing when contrasted with the speed of the hundreds of millions of pounds of money and commitments provided to private rail and bus transport companies since March.”
ScotRail and Serco – the firm which operates the Caledonian Sleeper – were able to vary their contracts with the Scottish Government through emergency measures agreements, which made extra funding available to the services.
Mr Bartos said: “Even if the Subway successfully receives its fraction of the headline total figure announced for Subway and trams, SPT will still face a multimillion-pound deficit by the end of the financial year.
“Unless there is a fresh approach taken by Government and a commitment for the rest of the financial year, the deficit still means cuts to our capacity to support public transport.”
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams continue to provide key connections within our two biggest cities.
“The services provide essential capacity and link with bus, rail and park and ride facilities.
“Over the six-month period from July we will now have provided up to £13 million of financial support to operators to enable services to continue.
“Any restrictions on these services could have placed unsustainable demands on other modes, especially bus, and so this funding will assist capacity across all public transport.”
Mr Matheson also thanked those who continued to work in the light rail sector during the pandemic and helping key workers continue to do their jobs.
A letter from Mr Bartos last week to the Transport Secretary said the Subway is seeing a high proportion of journeys to and from Govan station, which is near the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Edinburgh Trams chairman Martin Dean welcomed the funding, saying: “The additional funding being offered from Transport Scotland is welcome news, especially as we navigate the challenges of fresh restrictions in the area.
“The ongoing financial support allows us to continue to operate our services for anyone who relies on the city’s tramway to make essential journeys.
“We are grateful to Transport for Edinburgh for leading on these negotiations on behalf of our organisation.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe