Sadiq Khan request a £2 billion bailout to save TFL
Sadiq Khan has asked a £2 billion bailout for Transport for London (Tfl), which expects to lose £4 billion this year due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Without financial support, the number of tube trains and buses available will be cut off.
Downing Street has agreed to give TfL £1.6 billion, on the basis that public transport services would be running at full capacity as soon as possible. But this will mean fares would increase next year.
Mayor of London said, "This is not the deal I wanted but I had no choice but to accept it.
"The Government is making Londoners pay for the cost of doing the right thing on Covid-19 with fares going up. This deal is a sticking plaster."
Khan mentioned in an interview, how unexpected he was to hear the Prime Minister's announcement last Sunday on easing the lockdown restrictions.
"There’s been a 10 per cent increase in public transport use since last week. But even a one per cent increase of people using the Tube is a problem, we can only have up to 15 per cent of the usual capacity to maintain social distancing", he said.
He added, "It didn’t make sense for the PM to make his speech on Sunday before the guidance on what a safe place of work is, it’s putting the cart before the horse."
Sadiq Khan claimed Tfl was in a good position, despite losing a government grant of a billion of ponds.
"We had cash reserves north of £2.1 billion but we make our money from fares, the congestion charge and advertising, and Tube journeys are down 95 per cent and bus down 85 per cent.
"We need money in the kitty for two months and if we don’t we won’t be able to provide wider pavements and cycle routes to encourage people off the Tubes. Those who can go to work will and those who can’t won’t be able to safely get around.", Khan stated.
It was also announced the Congestion charge will return from Monday, increasing to £15 seven days a week.
Over the next few months Sadiq Khan is expected to negotiate a new funding model for TfL, “with either permanent funding from government or giving London more control over key taxes so we can pay for it ourselves, or a combination of these”, he said.
Source: Evening Standard