Transport for London (TfL) is currently considering closing down an entire Tube line as a result of its difficult financial situation.
TfL’s chief financial officer Simon Kilonback told the operator’s finance committee that TfL could see the “full closure of a line or part of a line or smaller reductions across the whole network.”
“We will have to reduce Tube services by 9 per cent and the bus network by 18 per cent,” he said. “On the bus network, in practice this means over 100 routes being withdrawn and on the remaining, 200 will services have reductions.
“Changes to the bus network will need to start very soon while changes to the Tube network will take slightly longer to materialise.”
Due to lower passenger numbers and overlapping services, the Bakerloo, Jubilee as well as the Overground and the Hammersmith and City lines are among those that could experience the cuts.
Kilonback also added there was a concrete risk of the operator issuing a “section 114 notice” and effectively declare bankruptcy. The notice says there are no other solutions other than seeking government support.
“I think we unfortunately face the situation we first faced back in May 2020, where we are going to have to consider what is required under statute, and say that under S114 of the local Government Finance Act we cannot see a way to balance the budget,” Kilonback sid.
“That requires us to commute all expenditure other than that which is required for statutory purposes, which are very limited in terms of the transport services we operate, and to continue to run things that contribute to getting out of the problem and to stop anything which makes the problem worse.”
According to TfL, the UK’s recovery is inherently tied to the capital’s, making TfL’s survival a matter of the outmost importance.
“We are eager to work in partnership with the government to safeguard the recovery and to agree a longer term funding deal as we work towards achieving financial sustainability by April 2023,” said a TfL spokesperson.
“Our current short term funding deal expires on 11 December and we have to plan for a range of potential outcomes beyond that as set out in our finance committee today. We look forward to the discussions with government getting underway.”
Hitting back, a Department for Transport (Dft) spokesperson said: “The empty threats of managed decline are needless sabre-rattling – we have repeatedly shown our commitment to positive discussions, and look forward to working closely with the mayor to secure a fair deal which balances the needs of London and the interests of UK taxpayers.
“We will not conduct these discussions through the media.”