Transport Minister Grant Shapps and Mayor Sadiq Khan have agreed another £1.6 million of funding for Transport for London (TfL) as part of a “long-term settlement”. That now makes a total of £6 billion of Government funding which of course comes from taxpayers not just in London but from the whole country. That’s about £100 for every man, woman and child in the UK.
The funding will support new Piccadilly line trains, as well as modernisations and upgrades across the District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith and City and Circle lines. It will also support the long-awaited repair of Hammersmith Bridge, the extension of the Northern Line, improvements to Elephant and Castle station and £80 million every year for active travel schemes (mainly cycling schemes).
The Mayor has agreed as part of the settlement to reform pensions and work on the introduction of driverless trains on the underground. But he is not happy with the outcome. He said in a press release: “The Government is still leaving TfL with a significant funding gap, meaning we will likely have to increase fares in the future and still proceed with some cuts to bus services. There are also onerous strings attached, such as the Government’s condition requiring TfL to come up with options for reform of TfL’s pension scheme at pace, which could well lead to more industrial action and more disruption for commuters”.
Comment: By funding gap he means TfL will continue to lose money. Users of TfL services, particularly bus passengers, will continue to be massively subsidised instead of paying the true cost of their journeys. Why should that be so?
Grant Shapps has yet again avoided the proper decision which should have been to take control of TfL away from the Mayor. Will the Mayor stand up to unions when strikes are threatened over changes to working practices and pension schemes? I doubt it.
Sadiq Khan Press Release: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/statement-from-the-mayor-on-tfl-funding-1