Saturday 29 May 2021 1:15 pm

TfL funding package expires as talks continue on short-term rescue deal

The emergency funding support programme agreed between Transport for London and the Department for Transport has come to an end, with discussions continuing on an extension.

TfL were forced to go cap-in-hand to central government after passenger numbers collapsed at the start of Covid-19.

A funding deal was struck in November 2020 to finish in March this year, but was extended until May 28 once the scale of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic became apparent.

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Unlike most global cities, London’s transport network is heavily reliant on ‘fare box’ revenues rather than on funding settlements.

A TfL spokesperson said this morning that talks with the Department for Transport were continuing.

TfL said they hoped “these discussions can be concluded successfully soon, to enable a strong and robust recovery from the pandemic.”

Most observers believe a longer-term funding settlement is required to give TfL the ability to plan ahead.

Yesterday reports emerged that the two sides were close to agreeing another rescue deal, however, which would also require TfL to drastically cut costs again.

It seems unlikely that some services – such as the Night Tube – will be seen again until fare revenues recover.

Yesterday, Caroline Pidgeon AM – the Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee – told City A.M. that “short-term finance settlements are the last thing TfL and London needs.

“The ability to plan ahead is critical for everyone involved in delivering transport services.”

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