Funding throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 Light Rail Revenue Restart Grant (LRRRG) & Light Rail & Tram Recovery Grant (LRTRG)
West Midlands Combined Authority was allocated LRRRG funding of up to £9.4m for the period 17 March 2020 to 19 July 2021 to help support continued delivery of operations. It has been allocated further LRTRG funding of up to £2.97m for the period 20 July 2021 to 5 April 2022 to support services as they recover from the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic. This funding is passed onto Midland Metro Limited, Operator of the West Midlands Metro, to help offset the forecast losses for MML due to reductions in passenger numbers.
During the initial lockdown our passenger numbers declined to as low as 13% of normal levels.
Our patronage numbers then started to increase, until the second lockdown, when they fell again.
We have operated the following interim service patterns:
- 27th April 2020 - 15 minute service throughout the day
- 25th May 2020 - 12 minute peak service, 15 minutes outside of peak
- 1st September 2020 - reintroduced normal services
- 15th February 2021 - 7 minute peak service
The funding has also helped to support other initiatives designed to help keep customers and colleagues safe during the pandemic. These include:
An enhanced cleaning regime on board trams, tram stops and within the office spaces. This includes utilizing a product which uses an anti-static application that treats all surfaces with a fine mist of a water-based disinfectant. This is applied to all touch points including handrails, push buttons and seating to create an invisible coating that delivers continued protection against 99.9% of bacteria including Covid-19 for up to 30 days.
We also delivered messaging at stops and via social media platforms, informing and reminding customers of the latest Government guidance on Covid-19.
When face coverings were identified as an effective method for helping to prevent the spread of the virus, we mandated wearing coverings for our colleagues and we distributed face coverings to customers.
Our mobile app has also been enhanced to show customers when trams are likely to be busy via a heat map which is based on historical data and also people’s intentions to travel (registered through the app). This allowed customers to plan their journey around quieter times.
We have also provided a dedicated Customer Advice Teams (CAT Teams) deployed across the network to assist and offer guidance to customers on things such as choosing quieter times to travel, encouraging the use of face masks and signposting customers to useful information such as the Heat Map available on the My Metro app.