Coronavirus: TfL expects to lose £500 million as Londoners stay at home

16 March 2020, 15:09

TfL is expecting to lose £500 million as  some Londoners shun public transport over coronavirus fears
TfL is expecting to lose £500 million as some Londoners shun public transport over coronavirus fears. Picture: PA

By Tobi Akingbade

Transport for London has said it could lose up to £500 million in income as Londoners and tourists stay at home and over fears of coronavirus.

TfL said there has been a 19% drop in traffic on the Underground since the start of the outbreak, but said its current cash balance of over £2 billion is “well above the required minimum” to allow the initial impact of the virus to be managed.

Following advice from Public Health England, which says there is no specific risk on public transport, a TfL spokesperson said the cleaning regime on its services has been "stepped up" beyond the "already existing high standards."

The company is also planning what it needs to do to recover once the pandemic has subsided.

Simon Kilonback, TfL’s Chief Finance Officer, said: “Our best forecast, based on government scenarios, is that the financial impact of the coronavirus could be up to £500m. We manage our finances prudently, and have reduced our deficit hugely in recent years.

"This means that we can manage the impacts on our passenger numbers and finances that are currently envisaged. But, given the nature of the situation, we will be looking to the Government to provide appropriate financial support.

“We continue to follow and communicate Public Health England advice, including that there is no specific risk on public transport.

"We’ve also stepped up our cleaning regime from the already very high standards to give our customers and staff further reassurance.”

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