The government has agreed a bailout deal with Transport for London after pressure from Mayor Sadiq Khan for eleventh-hour funding. TfL had run through its £1 billion reserves and called upon the government for emergency funding to help keep services running and avoid a financial collapse amid the crisis. TfL had seen a fall in fare revenue of 90 percent while Londoners avoided the travel network.
Although a bailout deal that amounts to £1.6 billion was agreed, transport secretary Grant Shapps said it would also result in a fare hike for customers on public transport in London. In yesterday’s (Thursday May 14) daily briefing from Downing Street, Shapps said that he didn’t want the financial burden to fall on those outside the capital, and as such, ‘fares do end up having to rise with inflation’. The government has also suspended the use of Freedom Passes for elderly and disabled passengers during peak travel times.
Sadiq Khan has reacted this morning to the bailout that came at the last minute for TfL and after two months of negotiations, with a statement deploring the deal that was struck. ‘I want to be completely honest and upfront with Londoners – this is not the deal I wanted. But it was the only deal the Government put on the table and I had no choice but to accept it to keep the Tubes and buses running,’ he said. ‘The Government is, in effect, making ordinary Londoners pay the cost for doing the right thing on Covid-19.’
Khan had previously promised a fare freeze for 2020 as part of his re-election campaign for Mayor of London. There is so far no guidance on the sort of fee hike passengers can expect following the government’s deal.
Despite the difficulties, Khan urged Londoners to continue to avoid the transport network and to cycle and walk wherever possible.
Done with the Underground? Get on yer bike by checking out London’s best cycle shops.
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