Sadiq Khan in urgent call on Government for London transport funding

Sadiq Khan threatens to cut number of London buses down by a FIFTH and slash Tube services by 10% unless Government ploughs more money into TfL to plug £1.9billion funding gap

  • Mayor of London has warned Transport for London needs urgent investment 
  • Sadiq Khan says bus services could be reduced by a fifth and Tubes by 10%
  • Report to City Hall detailed worse-than-expected impacts on TfL network 

London’s bus and tube services could be severely disrupted without urgent Government investment because of a £1.9 billion funding gap, the Mayor of London has warned.

Sadiq Khan says bus services could be reduced by a fifth and tube services by almost 10 per cent unless the Government steps in with an injection of funds.

It comes after a report to City Hall’s finance committee detailed worse-than-expected impacts on the transport network from the Covid-19 pandemic, and with Transport for London’s (TfL) emergency funding deal coming to a close next month.

Mayor Sadiq Khan wears a mask as he waits on a platform at Westminster station in July

‘Transport for London is dealing with an unprecedented financial crisis caused by the pandemic,’ Mr Khan said in a statement.

‘We are now less than a month away from TfL’s emergency funding deal expiring on 11 December. 

‘Unless the Government provides the long-term funding needed to maintain our public transport network, there will be no choice but to make significant cuts to services just as demand is growing again.

‘This would mean fewer, less frequent and more run-down bus and tube services for Londoners, making it more difficult to travel around the city.

Passenger numbers have still not got back to pre-pandemic levels – with the Tube worst-hit

‘It would also mean more road and tunnel closures due to a lack of funding to maintain key transport infrastructure.

‘The widespread disruption and gridlock all these changes would cause would not only unfairly punish millions of Londoners for the impact of the pandemic on TfL’s finances, but would put the national economic recovery at risk.’

The Labour mayor said while he supported the Government’s transport investments across the country for the cause of levelling up, this should not come at the cost of ‘levelling down London’.

‘There can be no London recovery without a properly funded public transport network in the capital, and there can be no national recovery without a London recovery,’ he said.

London commuters wait for an Underground train at Westminster station in July

‘Our city contributes £36.1billion net to the Treasury each year. TfL contracts contribute around £7billion to the UK economy, and its supply chain supports 43,000 jobs around the country, which could be at risk.

‘If the Government fails to work with us to protect London’s transport network, the capital and the whole country will pay the price for decades to come.’

The TfL Finance Committee’s report to City Hall details reductions of more than £1 billion in annual running costs over the past five years but says more savings will be needed because of the projected £1.9billion funding gap.

This would mean a move to a ‘managed decline’ scenario, the report says, requiring at least an 18 per cent reduction in bus services and a 9 per cent cut to tube services.

This graph shows the split in journeys between types of station on the TfL network since 2020

Emma Gibson, director of London TravelWatch, told MailOnline today: ‘Millions of people rely on London’s buses and Tubes every day, and maintaining a high frequency service will be an important factor in London’s recovery. 

‘Research shows that when you cut the frequency of buses and Tubes, fewer people use them, which in turn leads to less income to fund the services which you do run. 

‘Fewer people using public transport also means more people using their cars, which is a problem for congestion; air pollution and climate change. 

‘A fully laden bus can take up to 75 cars off the road, which is a win-win for everyone.’

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