England's largest transport authorities have laid out five key requests to government as part of the coronavirus recovery plans and reopening networks after lockdown.
The Urban Transport Group represents transport authorities covering more than 20 million people in London (TfL), West Midlands (TfWM), West Yorkshire (WYCA), South Yorkshire (SYPTE), Tyne and Wear (Nexus), Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the Liverpool City Region (Merseytravel).
In a statement the authorities made five asks of Government on the post COVID-19 recovery:
- Direct input into the Government’s decision-making process on its recovery strategy in order to ensure that it is compatible with what transport authorities can reasonably achieve.
- Clarity on what the strategy is through lockdown and into the recovery phase for PPE in general, and for masks in particular, in relation to both staff and passengers, testing for transport sector staff and the role and extent of social distancing.
- A joint approach to travel demand measures, including the co-ordinated promotion of ongoing home working, management of capacity including the staggering of working hours, and the phasing of the release of lockdown for different journey purposes and demographics.
- Greater flexibilities for transport authorities outside London to dynamically manage public transport networks as a whole in the same way that London already can.
- The outstanding funding needs of Transport for London (TfL) and transport authorities outside London during the lockdown phase to be urgently addressed and new and sustainable funding arrangements to be agreed between Government and transport authorities.
The Urban Transport Group highlighted that ministers have still not announced the details of funding packages for urban authorities leaving them struggling to cover general expenditure after massive income loss from passengers.
In London, for instance, fare revenue has all but disappeared but fixed costs are thought to be around £600m a month.
Various infrastructure projects across the metropolitan areas, such as Crossrail in London, have also been put on hold, which could put a further dent in planned budgets.
The Urban Transport Group urged the Government to urgently review the conditions and deadlines attached to the many different funding streams that transport authorities are currently subject to with a view to relaxing conditions.