London Mayor Warns Tube Line Could Close Without Extra Funds
London mayor Sadiq Khan warned that an entire underground subway line could close if the city’s transport agency can’t access the “emergency and long-term funding it needs” from the U.K. government to maintain services.
Transport for London would consider such a move as a last resort to deliver the savings needed to address the agency’s funding needs, Khan said in a statement on Tuesday. The capital city’s current emergency funding agreement with the government is set to expire Dec. 11.
Without further aid, “bus services would have to be reduced by almost a fifth, and Tube services would need to be cut by nearly 10%,” Khan said.
Khan didn’t mention which of the 11 Tube lines could be shuttered and TfL said that no decisions have been made on which services could be impacted. A report from the Daily Mail said the Bakerloo line could be at risk.
A proposed extension of the Bakerloo line to Lewisham in the city’s southeast was branded “completely out of reach” by the mayor in a piece for the Financial Times earlier this month. It currently runs from northwest London to Elephant & Castle below the River Thames.
“We have to plan for a range of potential outcomes” beyond Dec. 11, a TfL spokesman said in an email.
Peak Service Cuts
TfL has already warned it may need to cut peak service on some underground lines if it cannot find ways to plug budget holes exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It said earlier this month that it can currently only afford a “managed decline” of services, where new investments, like fleet replacements and bus electrification, would be delayed.
The transport agency needs to raise an added 500 million pounds ($667 million) to 1 billion pounds in revenue per year as part of a government funding package that kept services running.
The government has said that following previous funding agreements with TfL, it would work closely with the mayor to secure a deal that balanced the needs of London and interests of U.K. taxpayers, after passenger revenue collapsed during the pandemic.
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