Sadiq Khan warns Grant Shapps ‘bus and Tube cuts on the way’ unless TfL funds deal agreed

·2-min read
Sadiq Khan warns Grant Shapps ‘bus and Tube cuts on the way’ unless TfL funds deal agreed

Sadiq Khan has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warning work to cut bus and Tube services will start in a fortnight unless a long term funding deal is agreed with Government.

The London Mayor is seeking an urgent meeting between himself, Transport for London and Mr Shapps to agree a long-term funding settlement for the capital’s transport network.

The latest £200m government bail out for TFL, announced in February to help it maintain services as it attempts to recover from the financial damage caused by the pandemic, is due to run out on June 24.

In the letter Mr Khan said despite the looming deadline, he had not heard directly from Mr Shapps and accused the DfT and Treasury of cancelling 20 meetings on funding since the last deal was agreed. It sparked an angry response from the Government who accused Mr Khan of “a wholly unfair portrayal of the work that has been going on” with TfL.

Mr Khan wrote: “While we are grateful for the support you have provided to date, its short-term nature has made it challenging for TfL to plan expenditure and a path away from government support.

“The only reason TfL needs financial support is because of the devastating impact of the pandemic on fare income – which as a result of past government decisions, we are over-dependent on, compared to the public transport networks in equivalent world cities.

“Without a long-term capital deal in two weeks’ time, TfL will be forced to start work on enacting its managed decline scenario. That would mean an additional 80 bus routes cut (an overall 18 per cent reduction), and a nine per cent reduction in Tube services, equivalent to closing an entire line.”

TfL earlier this month launched a six week consultation on the future of 78 of its 620 bus routes in the centre of the city - including some of the capital’s best known services.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Officials have been meeting with TfL on a regular basis after committing to explore a long-term settlement and the Mayor is well aware of this.

“This is just another example of the Mayor refusing to take responsibility and fulfil his promise of making TfL financially stable despite numerous bailouts from the Government adding up to almost £5bn.”

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