The government will give Greater Manchester £18m to save public transport services affected a fall in passenger numbers since the pandemic.

But Andy Burnham says this is less than half of what is needed to close the budget gap.

Set to last until the end of March 2024, this funding follows more than £400m of bailouts for Greater Manchester’s transport network over four years.

But this bailout comes with the condition that Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) becomes financially sustainable when it recovers from the pandemic.

It comes after London received a multi-billion-pound public transport bailout.


A Metrolink service (Picture: Metrolink Manchester)

A Metrolink service (Picture: Metrolink Manchester)


Mayor Burnham said Greater Manchester’s settlement is "far less generous".

He said: “Any extra support for our public transport system as it recovers from the pandemic is of course welcome and we appreciate the Secretary of State’s efforts in securing this. 

"This said, the total funding offered, which includes the extra £18m, represents less than half of the shortfall we face and is far less generous in percentage terms than the settlement offered to London.

“If the government is to deliver on its commitment of London-style public transport outside of London, it has to put funding behind it and ensure all parts of the country receive fair and equal treatment.

"We will continue to press ahead with our plans to introduce the Bee Network in September but have asked the Secretary of State for more funding flexibility to deal with the challenges we face.”

Mr Burnham set out several sources of pressure on TfGM’s finances ahead of meeting union representatives over pay for Metrolink staff. This included the fall in passenger numbers since the pandemic and the creation of the Bee Network which will see the first publicly controlled buses rolled out this year.

However, the tram strikes were called off after an "improved" offer by operator KeolisAmey was received following Mr Burnham’s intervention in the pay talks.


A Metrolink service (Picture: Metrolink Manchester)

A Metrolink service (Picture: Metrolink Manchester)


The pay increase offered and how it would be funded has not been disclosed.

According to the government, TfGM currently faces a "very distinct set of circumstances" particularly in the way that Metrolink is funded. 

The government says this latest bailout reaffirms its commitment to supporting the network as it continues to combat declining bus and tram usage levels, inflation costs, historic debts and additional revenue risks from bus franchising, while working towards long-term financial sustainability.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Since the start of the pandemic, the government has repeatedly stepped up to support Greater Manchester and the Bee Network, providing over £400m to protect and improve services.

"We’re determined to see a thriving local transport network in this great city and, while our support package must be fair to taxpayers, I am confident this additional extraordinary settlement will help operators to recover from the pandemic while Transport for Greater Manchester follows through on its promise to reach financial sustainability.”