TfL 'offered billion pound bailout in exchange for fare hikes'

16 October 2020, 05:39

TfL has reportedly secured a billion pound bailout - but it comes with conditions
TfL has reportedly secured a billion pound bailout - but it comes with conditions. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Transport for London has been offered a billion pound bailout by the Government in exchange for a rise in fares and an extension to the congestion zone, it has been reported.

London's public transport system is currently facing a financial blackhole after the coronavirus pandemic depleted the use of tubes and buses by 90 per cent over the lockdown.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned the body will run out of money by tomorrow if money was not secured, and has asked for a £5.7 billion package from the government to protect the system for the next 18 months.

As of midnight tonight, the city is to be placed under Tier 2 restrictions which is likely to worsen TfL's cash crisis, with people being banned from socialising with other households in indoor settings.

According to Sky News, the Government has approved of a billion pound bailout - less than two months worth of the costs of running - but it comes with conditions.

Sources have said this deal is "unacceptable" to Sadiq Khan
Sources have said this deal is "unacceptable" to Sadiq Khan. Picture: PA

Sources with knowledge of the matter said the Government has demanded a hike in fares for those using the service, and an extension of the congestion zone.

It is also understood they have demanded the end of free travel for the pensioners and children.

The source also said TfL were still hoping for a larger rescue deal worth double what has already been offered.

Read more: Manchester leaders 'unanimously oppose' tier three covid restrictions

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They said: "Conditions such as extending a £15 congestion charge to the North and South Circular and taking free travel away from children and older people would be totally unacceptable to the mayor and he would not ask Londoners to accept them in these exceptionally difficult times."

A TfL spokesperson said: "We continue to discuss our immediate funding requirements with the government and hope these discussions can be concluded successfully soon, so we can help London through this next phase of the pandemic.

"We are doing what we can to minimise costs and aim to continue operating a full service across our network while our funding discussions continue."

It was announced yesterday that from midnight on Friday, London will move into Tier 2 of the Government's coronavirus restrictions, bringing them into line with parts of the north which have been under tighter rules for months.

Moving from "medium" up to "high" will see the nine million people living in the capital banned from mixing with other households indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

The capital, along with Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield will move into the second tier of measures.

Figures show the worst affected London boroughs are Ealing with 144 cases per 100,000, Richmond upon Thames with 137 per 100,000 and Hackney with 134 per 100,000.

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