In order to support the continued running of the London transport network through the pandemic recovery, the UK Government has agreed a funding package worth around £1.08bn for Transport for London (TfL).
The settlement, the third extraordinary funding and financing package provided to TfL during the pandemic, will provide financial support to the capital’s transport network until December 11, 2021.
This will help ensure crucial reforms are accelerated, ensuring TfL becomes financially sustainable over the long term.
Two previous emergency support packages were agreed in April and October 2020 and now takes government support for TfL past £4bn in total since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.
The new funding award is conditions-based and builds on commitments outlined in previous support packages. Under these conditions, TfL is expected to be financially sustainable by April 2023.
Efforts to achieve this goal include progressing with initiatives to improve efficiency and cost-saving, as well as identifying new or increased sources of revenue for TfL beyond 2023.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This £1bn financial package will support London and its transport network through the pandemic, and ensure it is a modern, efficient and viable network for the future.
“Throughout this process, the government has maintained that these support packages must be fair to taxpayers across the UK and on the condition that action is taken to put TfL on the path to long-term financial sustainability.
“As part of today’s settlement, the Mayor has agreed to further measures that will help ensure that.”
Within the new funding period through to 11 December, the Mayor of London has agreed to:
- deliver £300m of savings or new income sources in 2021 to 2022
- identify new or increased sources of revenue for TfL of between £0.5bn to £1bn each year from 2023
- prepare a plan to accelerate TfL’s existing modernisation programme of £730m by April 2023
- review TfL’s generous pensions scheme
- prepare a revised medium-term capital investment programme
- set aside at least £100m to continue the delivery of healthy streets and active travel programmes
- carry out a joint review with government of demand on London’s transport network to ensure service levels are appropriate
There has also been an agreement reached between the Department for Transport and Mayor of London to work collaboratively on a joint programme to implement higher levels of automatic train operation on the London Underground network.
Automatic train operation is already seen regularly on many metro systems worldwide.
It is anticipated over the course of the new funding period, the Mayor and TfL will make progress towards the conversion of at least one London Underground line to full automation, but with an onboard attendant present.
The technology facilitating this is believed to have the potential to offer passengers with a more punctual, reliable, responsive and safer service, less susceptible to human error.
It will also allow TfL to engage with market leaders on technology to better protect passengers at station platforms.