SPT chair, Councillor Dr Martin Bartos, has reacted to today’s announcement from Transport Scotland that the Scottish Government is to provide a further £4 million of emergency funding in response to the on-going financial impacts of COVID-19 for Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams.
SPT chair, Councillor Dr Martin Bartos 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.
“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.”
SPT plays an essential role in ensuring many local and rural communities stay connected and keep moving, travelling for work, education and leisure. Without SPT subsidised support, many of these communities would find themselves completely isolated.
SPT has sought to keep these subsidised services running throughout the period of the pandemic, however SPT has received no funding for any aspect of its role in public transport for the first three months of the pandemic when the impact was most felt and patronage numbers were lowest on both Subway and bus.
Dr Bartos added:
“SPT has gone to great lengths to explain the very real challenges it faces in the coming months and in the longer term as it looks to its budget for the next year. I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport on these issues and am still waiting for a response. The Scottish Government must urgently reconsider its position on funding for the first three months of the pandemic. This decision could impact the SPT budget for years to come, and its ability to deliver much needed public transport services to the people of the West of Scotland.”