The hoped for long-term funding settled between the Department for Transport and Transport for London is still waited for with the latest announcement confirming a further two week extension in funding from 4th February until 18th February 2022.
As we have seen before the stumbling blocks for the stumbling block have the DfT’s insistence that TfL reaches financial sustainability as soon as possible and no later than April 2023. For their part TfL have stated they are making all savings possible and the lack of funding risks the ability for them not only to invest in new projects but also maintaining the current transport network.
In a statement to Parliament, Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have supported the transport network in London with over £4.5 billion funding through extraordinary funding settlements for TfL. We have recognised the reliance of London’s transport network on fare revenue and government continues our commitment to mitigating loss of fare revenue because of the pandemic. Government is committed to supporting London’s transport network as we have since the start of the pandemic and is in discussions with TfL on a fourth funding settlement. This short extension will enable us to finalise the terms of a robust settlement for this period, ensuring TfL and the Mayor take steps to move towards financial sustainability.”
A spokesperson from TfL said: “We continue to discuss our funding requirements with the Government. There is no UK recovery from the pandemic without a London recovery and there is no London recovery without a properly funded transport network in the capital. It is essential London receives the sustained long-term Government funding that is vital for the coming years if a period of ‘managed decline’ of London’s transport network is to be avoided. Working together, we must achieve a longer term capital funding settlement for at least three years, that ensures London’s transport network can remain reliable and efficient, can support the jobs and new homes that rely upon it and can support the economic recovery of the capital and the country as a whole. We hope these discussions can be concluded successfully soon.”
Recent passenger number figures released by TfL show that on the Tube ridership has increased by 25% (bringing numbers up to 60% of the pre-pandemic weekday numbers) since January with bus passenger numbers up by 10%. These increases have been used to illustrate how vital to London the transport network is to the economic recovery of the capital.