Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has launched a new £800,000 funding package and interactive web portal to help businesses and employers ‘embed sustainable travel behaviours’.
TfGM says that while the number of trips on public transport has dropped significantly during lockdown – and is still well below ‘normal’ levels – the number of trips by car remained consistently high and is now close to pre-pandemic levels.
With more people likely to be returning to the workplace over the coming weeks, TfGM’s business support package is part of a drive to rebuild confidence and encourage employers, employees, staff and customers to use safe and sustainable travel.
The new funding package is made up of the following two elements:
- £250,000 for organisations with fewer than 250 staff, for interventions such as cycle parking, pool bikes and changing or storage solutions (up to £10,000 per application)
- £550,000 to provide cycle parking for small businesses/organisations, NHS, Housing Associations and schools
Alongside the extra funding, a new interactive online portal provides a wide range of advice and resources – including a live chat function – to help businesses and employers with travel planning. The portal also includes options to encourage and embed sustainable transport, while supporting flexible working practices and taking the pressure off at traditional peak travel times.
Elise Wilson, Greater Manchester’s economy and business lead, said: “Congestion cost business in Greater Manchester £1.3bn before the pandemic and we really want to head off a car-led recovery and a return to that situation.
“To do that we need to embed smarter ways of commuting that not only cut congestion and reduce cost to business, but have tangible health, wellbeing and productivity benefits.”
In another move to encourage sustainable travel, TfGM is launching a bike hire scheme in November and delivering 100km of cycling and walking routes and 95 electric vehicle charging points by the end of 2021, with a further 200 to follow by the end of 2022.