Manchester’s Metrolink tram services will be more stable and reliable thanks to a new funding settlement for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), according to the UK Government.

The £18m settlement will support TfGM’s entire public transport network which includes buses, trams and trains, accounting for 5.6 million journeys a day, as well as active travel routes throughout the region.

TfGM has also been working on a project to connect all its services under one name, the Bee Network, in a London-style transport system.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “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.”

As it is part of the push to ensure TfGM has a stable future ahead, the government’s funding commitment includes a proviso that TfGM and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will outline a pathway to financial sustainability. 

That promise was initially made during a deeper devolution deal which transferred more control of the region to the Greater Manchester Mayor and GMCA, including the local public transport networks. 

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The government’s announcement comes shortly after it made another funding commitment to rail infrastructure in the region with a £72m package, including funding for a third platform at the Salford Crescent station. 

Harper also highlighted that over £400m has been provided to the transport network in the area since the pandemic to “protect and improve services”. 

His department said that funding is going towards battling declining bus and tram use, inflation costs and historic debts. 

It said: “TfGM currently faces a very distinct set of circumstances driven principally by the way that Metrolink funding is structured and the city region’s unique local funding commitment to the Greater Manchester Transport Fund.”