Light rail systems around the UK are continuing to rebuild patronage following the coronavirus pandemic, but fresh challenges are now emerging, say sector leaders.
Members of the UKTram Owners and Authorities Group have reported that rising energy costs are emerging as a key concern despite more positive news in relation to patronage.
Steve Duckering, UKTram Operations Manager, explained: “At their latest meeting, members of the group said that the most recent tranche of funding from the Department for Transport has proved vital as customer numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels.
“Although there are wide variations across the country, they were confident this would improve over the next few months as new travel patterns emerge.
“However, like the wider transport sector, light rail has seen a significant increase in energy costs.”
As part of its future objectives the group aims to help reduce costs for the sector more generally by exploring opportunities for joint procurement, while also investigating appropriate support to assist various light rail projects that have been impacted by COVID-19.
“In agreeing its priorities moving forward, the Owners and Authorities Group has set out plans to support UKTram’s strategic vision for the future of the sector that will help to drive future investment,” Steve added.