Sunday 24 January 2021 11:38 am

TfL needs government support for next two years to stay afloat, says boss

Transport for London (TfL) will need government financial support for the next two years to stay solvent, according to body’s commissioner.

Andy Byford said today that “without government support, and with the chaos that Covid and the decimation on our finances that Covid has wrought, we absolutely will be needing financial support in the short term”.

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TfL has been given two short-term government bailouts worth around £3.7bn in the past eight months, after Covid lockdowns ravaged the body’s revenue.

Fare revenue dropped by more than 90 per cent during the first lockdown and has never recovered since.

Speaking to the BBC today, Byford said: “TfL absolutely will require additional subsidy for the next year and the year beyond that.

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“Obviously, we will do our bit to cut our costs, we have in the past taken a billion pounds off the cost base, there are further savings baked into this financial sustainability plan. So we we are saying that we will ourselves make changes.”

TfL’s funding model sees fares make up around 72 per cent of total revenues, which is far more than for transport bodies in other global cities.

Byford said today that the pandemic showed TfL must “must diversify our revenue streams”.

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“The pandemic has viciously exposed the dangers of over relying on revenues through the fare box,” he said.

“Seventy-two per sent farebox recovery is almost unheard of in world transport, the norm is around 40 per cent. And we need to move away from that fragile model.”