TfL

Coronavirus: Transport for London secures £1.6bn bailout

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Photo: PA

Transport for London (TfL) has secured £1.6 billion in emergency funding to keep Tube and bus services running until September.

Under the bailout’s terms, London mayor Sadiq Khan is expected to restore a full Underground service as soon as possible.

He has also agreed to increase bus and Tube fares by 1% above inflation. Mr Khan had urged the government to provide support or risk TfL running out of money.

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TfL said a financial forecast predicted a 1.9bn funding gap in the half-year to the end of October that would widen to £3bn in the full-year to the end of March.

The BBC had been told a £500m loan agreed with the Department for Transport forms part of the total.

London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown, said: “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.

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“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.”

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA transport union, said the funding would prevent services “coming to a halt”.

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Mick Whelan, general secretary of the train driver’s union Aslef, said: “It would have been a disaster for the capital, and the country, if the Tube network – and London buses – had stopped running.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted his reaction to the bailout, criticising the Government for “forcing Londoners to pay a very heavy price for doing the right thing on COVID-19.”

He said: “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 Tube and buses running.”

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Mr Khan said fares will increase as fares income has fallen by 90% in the last two months because “Londoners have done the right thing and stayed at home – there isn’t enough money coming in to pay for our services”.

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Sam Hewitt

Let off some steam...