London Warns Tube Service at Risk of 25% Drop Due to Budget Hole
London’s transport agency may have to cut peak service on some underground lines by as much as 25% if it can’t plug budget holes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report predicts Transport for London’s funding gap will be 6.6 billion pounds ($8.9 billion) over the three years through fiscal 2025. That’s 22% higher than previously forecast, in part because fewer people than forecast have returned to workplaces.
TfL can currently only afford a “managed decline” of services, where new investments, such as fleet replacements and bus electrification, would be delayed. If things get worse, as well as the tube cuts, bus services and could also be reduced by 18%.
The document highlights an ongoing tussle over the cost of the outbreak should be parceled out among agencies, riders and drivers. At one point last year, the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson threatened to take over the TfL, accusing Mayor Sadiq Khan of mismanagement.
TfL needs to raise an added 500 million to 1 billion pounds in revenue per year as part of a government funding package that kept services running.
Meanwhile, with many people still working from home, ridership revenue will be short by an added 141 million pounds, according to the report.
Reduced driving also means the agency overestimated by 600 million pounds the money that will be raised by an expansion of the ultra low emission zone, an area of central London where drivers pay fees to enter.
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