Transport for London secures £1.8bn bailout from UK government

Suban Abdulla
·3 min read
Commuters wearing a face mask travel on TfL Victoria Line underground train carriages, heading towards central London, on June 15, 2020 after new rules make wearing face coverings on public transport compulsory while the UK further eases its coronavirus lockdown. - New coronavirus pandemic rules coming into force on June 15 make wearing face coverings such as masks or scarves compulsory on public transport, as various stores and outdoor attractions open for the first time in nearly three months. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
London mayor Sadiq Khan, said that while the agreement is “not a perfect deal,” they “fought hard” to get to the best possible place. Photo: Tolga AKMEN / AFP via Getty Images

Transport for London (TFL) has secured a bailout worth up to £1.8bn ($2.3bn), from the UK government.

The exact amount of money TFL will receive is contingent on passenger revenue in the coming months, but the capital’s transport body said the deal will allows it to continue operating services until the end of March 2021.

The new agreement means that amendments to the Congestion Charge introduced in June as part of a previous bailout — a 30% increase in the fee and longer operating hours — will remain in place.

TFL said that “discussions on longer-term sustainable funding” will continue.

London mayor Sadiq Khan, said that while it is “not a perfect deal,” they “fought hard” to get to the best possible place.

“I am pleased to have succeeded in killing off the very worst government proposals,” Khan said.

Khan added: “These proposals from the government would have hammered Londoners by massively expanding the Congestion Charge zone, scrapping free travel for older and younger Londoners and increasing TFL fares by more than RPI+1 (retail price index). I am determined that none of this will now happen.

“The only reason TFL needs government support is because almost all our fares income has dried up since March as Londoners have done the right thing.”

Last month, Khan said the government wanted TFL to extend the charging zone to the North and South Circular roads, covering around four million more Londoners.

He also opposed other proposed “ill-advised and draconian” measures such as, above-inflation public transport fare rises.

READ MORE: London's Waterloo and City tube lines to remain indefinitely closed

TFL said it would receive a “core amount of £1bn,” consisting of a £905m grant and £95m of borrowing.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson claimed, last month that TFL was “effectively bankrupted” before COVID-19, and proposals to hike charges were “entirely the responsibility” of Khan.

London transport commissioner Andy Byford said: “Reaching this agreement with the Government allows us to help London through this next phase of the pandemic.

“We will continue to work with the Mayor and the Government on our longer-term funding needs.

“As always, our staff are working tirelessly to serve London’s people and businesses, supporting the city’s economy and providing an excellent, safe and reliable service to our customers every day.”

The news comes after Khan announced that London’s Waterloo and City tube line, which has been closed since lockdown restrictions were enforced in March, will remain out of use to the public for the time being.

No date has been set for the reopening of the city’s tube line, which is London’s second-most intensively used after the Victoria line.

The line, which travels directly between Bank and Waterloo stations and is a key route for City workers, is the only one that has not reopened after lockdown.

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