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TfL still eyeing £700m annual savings in final 5-year business plan

TfL has published its updated five-year Business Plan, which confirms how the organisation will deliver the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to make the capital a greener, more prosperous city.

It will need to absorb £700m annually over five years following government funding cuts, with the general grant to support operating costs removed from 2018-19, meaning that London will become one of the only major cities in the world with a public transport and road network that doesn’t receive government subsidy to support operating costs.

In its draft business plan, published last December, TfL detailed its plans to make these savings.

In the last financial year, TfL reports that its operating costs were reduced by £153m, and this year it is exceeding its budgeted operating cost savings by over £138m.

The latest passenger figures suggest that the mayor’s freeze of TfL fares has encouraged people to use public transport, with London Overground seeing passenger numbers rise, compared to train operators where fares had not been frozen.

As well as frozen fares, the business plan protects all of TfL’s travel concessions, with free or discounted travel for children, people aged over 60 and those on income support.

Included in the document is the eagerly awaited Elizabeth Line, which will add an additional 10% rail capacity to central London from December 2018 and offer step-free access at every station.

From next year the first sections of the Hammersmith & City and Circle lines will run under new signalling, which is expected to provide 32 trains per hour in central London when complete, matching the digitised Tube services such as the Jubilee, Northern and Victoria lines.

Work will also begin on upgrading the trains and signalling on the Piccadilly Line, increasing capacity by 60%.

The DLR and London Overground will also see new fleets of trains, and by 2021-22 there are plans to provide step-free access to over 40% of Underground stations.

Completion of the Northern Line extension to Battersea and the London Overground extension to Barking Riverside are expected to complete during this period, and plans for Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo Line extension will continue.

TfL has said that the improvements confirmed in the plan will be achieved “despite a difficult economic backdrop and continuing uncertainty over the economic effects of Brexit.”

In order to continue to make savings, the organisation has identified some opportunities across the remaining years of the plan whilst, it claims, preserving frontline services – such as reducing management layers, the number of its office buildings and reliance on agency staff, as well as continuing the modernisation of the Underground, with a private partnership maintenance contract saving £200m.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Usage of TfL services is outperforming those elsewhere across the country, and London is leading the way showing how we can keep fares down, while still investing record amounts in creating the world-class infrastructure London needs.

“Despite £700m in government cuts every year, our extensive programme of cutting TfL waste and making TfL smarter in how it operates means we continue to make big strides making London a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city for everyone.”

Mike Brown, London’s transport commissioner, added: “This business plan sets out how we will deliver the Mayor’s Transport Strategy: changing the face of travel in London, reducing reliance on the car and encouraging much greater use of public transport, walking and cycling.”

The plan will be considered by TfL’s Finance Committee on 5 December.

Main Image: TfL

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Manchester Mike   27/11/2017 at 17:05

Where exactly are TfL cutting 'waste'? Saving £700m annually is a lot of dosh. Even early retirement of senior staff is short term gain for long term pain - TfL needs their experience, not cheap, green new grads replacing them.

Tfl Employee   27/11/2017 at 18:52

In answer to part of your question Manchester Mike, they are cutting staff across TfL. Not the operating staff who they know will strike to stop reductions, but admin, engineering and other office staff who also keep the business operational. It is claimed that these are staff surplus to requirements. But as someone in line for 'staff reductions' and having to apply for my own job, I can guarantee me and my colleagues do work that is essential to the business. I can't say why or there will be a good idea who I am. All that will happen is they cut loads of staff, then employ contractors to cover where they realize they made a mistake. There are loads of other ways to save money, but we all know that ain't going to happen. These are the kind of thinks freezing fares do, along with essential projects not been undertaken, because they can't be afforded. But as long as people think Kahn is great, that's alright. He isn't getting my vote!!!

James Miller   27/11/2017 at 21:43

I travel a lot on London's rail and bus network and regularly chat to tourists from outside of the UK. Rarely, do I meet someone over sixty, from another country, who enjoys a benefit like the Freedom Pass. Yesterday, I was talking to an American in his sixties and he was surprised that he could buy a Senior Railcard save himself money on the trains. Perhaps we give out too high a level of benefit? But then it's not about paying for the fares, it's about buying votes.

Thames Valley Traveller   28/11/2017 at 13:27

Saving that sum is easy. Stop wasting time with CrossRail 2, stop Bakerloo expansion via Old Kent road use existing to Camberwell. Add toilets to Crossrail 1, re-use 360s from HEX as extras for the fast service. Bring back the proper bus maps so one can plan routes across London, not have to guess, spider local maps useless. Leave staffing alone particularly at stations. Replace 1973 Picc stock asap & Central/Drain stocks. Stop replacing buses at 5-7 years old, revert to the 15 year life.

James Palma   28/11/2017 at 19:27

Yeah, Thames Valley Traveller, I am afraid they are not beneficial ideas for the long term travel requirements of London. Though I do agree with stock replacement which is intended. However a fleet of new trains will cost a massive fortune, and where will the money come from, the mayor has frozen fares. A good way to do it is charge everyone under 65; not in education; or seeking work, a fare. Yes, this includes ‘disabled’ people who have full time jobs.

Lutz   01/12/2017 at 13:43

In the article linked above: "Khan urges national fare freeze as TfL tickets to stay the same in 2018" Khan asked: “The government must now follow my lead and freeze national rail fares – especially for London suburban rail services. If I can do it, why can’t they?” This raised the question: "So, what is the impact on operations, maintenance, renewals, and enhancements?" Well, now we can see the consequences of the reckless political commitment to the fares cap. This is only the start; resulting cuts will impact on services during the next administration given that changes can take up to three years to impact business performance. The claims about the fare freezes being justifiable based on growth in patronage are weak; growth was expected to continue on the Overground, and TfL is NOT comparing like for like (urban patronage with numbers representing long-distance and outter-urban) with national services when they are undergoing different dynamics. These costs were induced by the reckless political commitment, and we are yet to see the full impact of teh consequences.

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