A £4 million funding boost for Edinburgh Trams and the Glasgow Subway has been announced by Transport Scotland.

The money will be shared between the two systems to help deal with measures put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic - and will be available until the end of the year.

It comes after a similar £9 million package announced in July expired at the end of last month.

But SPT chairman Dr Martin Bartos has called the injection of funds "disappointing", since SPT will still face a multimillion pound deficit by the end of the financial year. 

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams continue to provide key connections within our two biggest cities.

“The services provide essential capacity and link with bus, rail and park and ride facilities.

“Over the six-month period from July we will now have provided up to £13 million of financial support to operators to enable services to continue.

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“Any restrictions on these services could have placed unsustainable demands on other modes, especially bus, and so this funding will assist capacity across all public transport.”

The package was secured after talks between Transport Scotland, the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) – which runs the Subway network – and Transport for Edinburgh.

Mr Matheson thanked those working in the light rail sector during the pandemic, adding: “These services have allowed our key workers and others who needed to travel for essential journeys to do so during very challenging circumstances.

“The Subway and trams will help our wider society and economy recover as we go through the next phases of this pandemic.”

“We will continue to monitor the demand, capacity and costs of support across all transport modes.”

Edinburgh Trams chairman Martin Dean said: “The additional funding being offered from Transport Scotland is welcome news, especially as we navigate the challenges of fresh restrictions in the area.

“The ongoing financial support allows us to continue to operate our services for anyone who relies on the city’s tramway to make essential journeys.

“We are grateful to Transport for Edinburgh for leading on these negotiations on behalf of our organisation.”

Last week, SPT chairman Martin Bartos wrote to Mr Matheson calling for an increase in funding for the partnership.

He said: “People are the lifeblood of Scotland’s largest city and the Subway is a vital part of its circulation.

“The underground system continues to support key workers, those who cannot work from home and people on essential journeys in getting around the city in a safe and efficient way.

“We know from our data that during this pandemic we are particularly serving journeys to/from Govan station – the nearest link to Scotland’s largest hospital.

“Without an increase in Scottish Government support for the Subway, there could be long-term knock-on implications for all SPT services.”

Reacting to today’s announcement from Transport Scotland, SPT chairman Dr Martin Bartos called the funding "disappointing".                

He said: “The extension of emergency Subway support until the end of 2020 hopefully means we will be able to cover the current losses from Subway operations from July to the end of December.

"The funding package is disappointing when contrasted with the speed of the hundreds of millions of pounds of money and commitments provided to private rail and bus transport companies since March.

“Even if the Subway successfully receives its fraction of the headline total figure announced for Subway and Trams, SPT will still face a multimillion pound deficit by the end of the financial year.

"Unless there is a fresh approach taken by government and a commitment for the rest of the financial year the deficit still means cuts to our capacity to support public transport.”

Dr Bartos added: “SPT has gone to great lengths to explain the very real challenges it faces in the coming months and in the longer term as it looks to its budget for the next year. 

"I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport on these issues and am still waiting for a response. 

"The Scottish Government must urgently reconsider its position on funding for the first three months of the pandemic. 

"This decision could impact the SPT budget for years to come, and its ability to deliver much needed public transport services to the people of the West of Scotland.”

Transport Scotland has been contacted for comment.