The government has pledged financial support to Transport for London (TfL) to help its finances during the coronavirus crisis. A total of £1.6 billion of financial aid will help the tube and the buses keep running as income from ticket sales has plummeted.
Despite having closed some stations and reduced train frequency, TfL has still been running 70 per cent of its peak tube timetable and 80 per cent of its buses, all with almost no ticket revenue.
To alleviate this problem, the Department for Transport has now agreed to supply additional funding, based on the assumption that the funding shortfall will be £1.6 billion for the period 1 April 2020 to 17 October 2020. This figure consists of an Extraordinary Support Grant of £1.095 billion and incremental borrowing by TfL from the Public Works Loan Board of £505 million.
However, given the uncertainties in predicting demand, if the actual funding shortfall for such period is greater or less than £1.6 billion, then the amount of the grant and the PWLB loan will increase or decrease proportionately, up to a maximum of £1.9 billion in aggregate.
London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown said: “I welcome this support from government which will help us continue to get London moving and working again, safely and sustainably.
“London’s transport network is absolutely fundamental to the economic, social and environmental health of the Capital. Throughout the pandemic, transport workers have played a heroic role in the response to the virus – ensuring NHS and care staff have been able to get to work and save lives.
“We have worked closely with the Government and Mayor as part of the national effort to fight the virus, rapidly reducing passenger numbers to levels not seen for 100 years. This has meant that our fare and other revenue has fallen by 90 per cent.
“We now need to help London recover as restrictions on movement are gradually eased, with public health and more active forms of travel at the forefront of our thinking.
“We have been operating up to 70 per cent of peak Tube services and over 80 percent of bus services with many of our staff ill, shielding or in self isolation. From next week we will further increase services beyond this as we progressively build towards restoring services to pre-covid levels. “Enormous challenges remain, including agreeing longer term sustainable funding for transport in the Capital. In the meantime, we will continue to do everything in our power to help deliver a successful recovery for our great city.”