CITY bosses have rejoiced after a long-term funding deal was agreed today between the central government and TfL.
The London Chamber of Commerce said businesses “will be breathing a sigh of relief” while Centre for London’s boss Nick Bowes added that TfL will now be able to get on with running the transport system without “having to worry day to day over its very survival.”
Signed today by TfL’s board after months of strenuous talks with government ministers, the 20-month deal will keep the capital’s network moving until the spring of 2024.
It will also spare TfL a “managed decline” scenario, which included a raft of cuts to bus and tube services, City A.M. reported.
Earlier today, TfL’s commissioner Andy Byford warned that, without a settlement, the public body faced the risk of “handing the keys” over to the government, relinquishing complete control over operations and finances.
“We hope that this deal also signals renewed collaboration between the capital and central government – a successful UK needs a strong London, and vice versa,” commented John Dickie, chief executive of advocacy group BusinessLDN.
The announcement was also welcomed by the GLA Conservatives.
“The mayor now needs to roll up his sleeves and do what needs to be done, stop threatening Londoners with damaging bus cuts, and reduce the wasteful spending on excessive staff perks,” said Nick Rogers, GLA Conservatives’ transport spokesperson.
Rogers’ remarks were echoed by transport secretary Grant Shapps who urged London mayor Sadiq Khan to “keep TfL on the path to financial sustainability by 2023.”
On his side, the mayor said the settlement was “far from ideal” as he was forced to accept several conditions, including a reform to the pension scheme.
“These are things we have had no choice but to accept in order to get the deal over the line to avoid TfL becoming bankrupt, to save the jobs of thousands of transport workers and to keep trains, tubes and buses running across our city,” Khan explained.