The Conservative Government has told the Mayor that, in return for additional funds to keep London’s public transport system operating, bus and tube fares must go up next January. The Conservatives have also insisted that free travel is temporarily suspended for Freedom Pass and 60-plus cardholders at peak times and all the time for those under 18.
The current Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many fewer people are travelling on London’s buses and tubes and this has had a catastrophic impact on TfL’s finances. Income from bus and tube fares has fallen by 90 per cent in the last two months because Londoners have done the right thing and stayed at home.
The Conservatives have also insisted that, unlike the deals done elsewhere in the country, TfL must take on £505 million of additional debt. In the last few years, London has been the only major city in Western Europe that has not received direct Government funding to run day-to-day transport services since it was cut by the last Conservative Government.
TfL is currently running as many services as humanly possible given the number of staff who are off sick, shielding or self-isolating. As staff are returning to work TfL is increasing services as fast as safely possible. From Monday 18th May, TfL aims to run around 85 per cent of buses, 75 per cent of tubes, restore the Circle line and re-open some of the 37 closed stations.