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Plea for Government support for Blackpool tramway

Blackpool Transport will ask the government for help to protect the future of the resort's tramway after other areas received a share of £30m.

The tram service has been suspended since March 29th, and there is currently a bus service for key workers operating along the route instead.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is working with five networks across England to help them survive lockdown.

Now Blackpool Transport has said it will also be asking for support.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is working with light rail networks in Greater Manchester, Sheffield, the West Midlands, Nottingham and Tyne and Wear to help them survive lockdown.

A spokesperson said tram passenger numbers  before the suspension of the service had dropped by 95 per cent due to lockdown measures.

They added: “The tramway will be a key part of our contribution to reviving Blackpool and we are in discussion with UK Tram and the DfT to have financial support during and after the restart.

“Our service one bus route is in operation in place of the tramway and is carrying approximately 4,400 customers each week, equating to 12 per cent of our current weekly customer numbers.

“The current financial support from Blackpool Council, Lancashire County Council and central Government will be in place until at least the end of June 2020.

“When social distancing rules are relaxed, our network will be one of the first parts of the local economy that will be restored in a staged process.

“There is a lot of thought being put in by Blackpool Council and BTS to ensure that we will anticipate those changes in travel requirements.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard said he would support BTS in seeking government assistance.

He said: “If other towns and cities are all receiving funding to make up the shortfall, why isn’t Blackpool?

“The tramway will have the potential to provide vital links for key workers and Blackpool should not be excluded from funding aimed at compensating for lost revenues.

“Our tramway is far more than a tourist attraction. I am interested to hear the view of Blackpool Transport and stand ready to work with representatives should they wish to make a case to the Department for Transport.”

Calls have already been made for government support for council-run bus companies such as BTS.

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