Tyne & Wear

Coronavirus: Tyne and Wear Metro 'needs £500k a week'

A Metro train travelling to South Hylton
Image caption The government has given the Tyne and Wear Metro network a total of £16m support packages

Metro chiefs are hoping for a new bailout to save the struggling network from £500,000-a-week losses.

The Tyne and Wear rail service has been given more than £16m by the government to survive a massive drop in passenger numbers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

That money is due to run out and another bailout is being discussed, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The Department for Transport confirmed it is reviewing the case for extra funding for the Metro.

Chairman of the North East joint transport committee and leader of Gateshead Council Martin Gannon said local authorities could not afford to bail the service out.

At the height of lockdown, the Metro was losing around £1m every week as passenger levels dropped by up to 95%.

Numbers have now recovered to around a third of normal levels but without government support the network would still suffer weekly losses of around £500,000, operator Nexus said.

A spokesman said if government help was not forthcoming, it could mean major cuts to services. 

Mr Gannon said the service's money was due to run out on 4 August.

"Discussions are at an advanced level and we are confident that we will get a package that would sustain the Metro through the current crisis", he said.

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