Local Transport Today is the authoritative, independent journal for transport decision makers. Analysis, Comment & News on Transport Policy, Planning, Finance and Delivery since 1989.

Channel cash via us – UTG

01 May 2020

The government should channel emergency funding for urban public transport during the Covid-19 recovery phase  to transport authorities rather than direct to operators, the Urban Transport Group has said. 

A new UTG briefing paper says: “The conditions will change markedly during the start-up phase, where the costs of providing a public transport network will be higher as a more regular (or even enhanced) level of service will be required but with much lower than normal levels of patronage due to reduced demand and any social distancing requirements.” 

Operating costs could also rise because of higher cleaning standards and more staff being needed to regulate access to stations and vehicles.

The UTG?says the Government should pay funds during this stage to its members rather than to operators, “wherever practicable”. 

Doing so would ensure decisions about how to allocate funding are taken “in a holistic way and in light of local circumstances, rather than funding being directed mode-by-mode on the basis of a national formula that is insensitive to local circumstances and conditions, and which makes the coordination of services across modes more challenging”. 

The UTG?also calls on the Government to give its member authorities “greater flexibilities to dynamically manage the public transport networks as a whole, in an agile and integrated manner, in the same way that London already can.”  

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