Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has launched an £800,000 funding package and web portal to help businesses and employers embed sustainable travel behaviours.
Public transport trip numbers dropped significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic as people were encouraged to stay at home and keep capacity free for those who needed it most.
However, trips by car remained high over the past year, and are now close to pre-pandemic levels as restrictions and advice to work from home comes to an end. If that trend continues, and more people opt for private car use over public transport or cycling and walking, traffic congestion could cost GM businesses more than the £1.3 billion it did before coronavirus.
TfGM is now working to help rebuild confidence in sustainable travel and support Greater Manchester’s social and economic recovery from the pandemic by encouraging the uptake of safe, sustainable travel amongst employers, employees, staff and customers.
The new funding package is made up of two pots, including:
- A £250,000 pot for SMEs with fewer than 250 staff for interventions such as cycle parking, pool bikes and changing or storage solutions, up to £10,000 per application.
- A £550,000 pot to help provide cycle parking for small businesses/organisations, NHS, Housing Associations and schools located within 400m of eligible Bee Network cycling and walking schemes being delivered in 2021.
Alongside funding, a new interactive online portal provides a wide range of advice and resources, including a live chat function, to support business and employers in travel planning and options for encouraging and embedding sustainable transport use, including options to support flexible working practices and commutes outside traditional peak times.
Elise Wilson, Leader of Stockport Council and GM Economy and Business Lead, said:
The last 16 months have been exceptionally tough for everyone, but it has given us the opportunity to reset our thinking on how, when and where people work and travel, to the benefit of all our residents and visitors.
“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.
“This is a great opportunity and I’d encourage people to visit the interactive portal and find out more about the available funding and what you can be doing for your staff, suppliers and customers.”
The new online portal can be accessed here where there is also information about how to apply for sustainable travel funding.