Transport network to get £283m for Covid-19 protection measures

Transport network to get £283m for Covid-19 protection measures

Roads, rail and buses receive funds to increase capacity and ensure space for social distancing

A tram at a stop in Manchester city centre earlier this month.

A tram at a stop in Manchester city centre.
Photograph: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

Roads, railways, buses and trams are to receive a £283m funding package to improve public safety and protect services, the transport secretary has announced.

Grant Shapps said the funding – £254m for buses and £29m for trams and light rail – would increase both frequency and capacity of services while ensuring there is enough space on vehicles to allow for social distancing.

The money will be spent on making adjustments to vehicles, signage, deep cleaning and the provision of hand sanitiser.

In addition, 3,400 people, including British Transport police officers and Network Rail staff, have been deployed at stations to make sure passengers follow the physical distancing guidance put in place.

Light rail funding will also support services in Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Tyne and Wear and the West Midlands.

A personalised information service has also been introduced to inform people about disruption and crowding on services.

It comes after the Department for Transport announced earlier this month that £225m will go towards creating pop-up and permanent cycle lanes across England to encourage people to use bikes instead of public transport when necessary.

Shapps, who led Saturday’s daily Downing Street press conference, said: “To make sure people can travel safely when they need to, we are increasing capacity on buses and light rail, as well as helping local authorities fast-track plans to support cyclists and pedestrians, further reducing pressure on our transport network.

“These measures will help keep passengers safe now, but we must also prepare for what comes next.

“Strengthening vital road and railway connections, as well as encouraging cycling and walking, will be essential to our ambition to level up the country, secure a green legacy, and kickstart regional economies, as we build out of Covid-19 and look to the future.”

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