The Government’s emergency funding deal for TfL will be extended until mid-May, the Transport Secretary has revealed.
Grant Shapps announced via Twitter yesterday that the current deal, which runs until March 31, will be extended by seven weeks to May 18 under the same conditions as the existing deal.
The current £1.7 billion deal, agreed last October, saw the Government drop funding for concessionary TfL fares such as free travel for under 18s and over 60s, and saw increases in other fares.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Government has today proposed a short-term extension to the current TfL funding deal. We will work as quickly as possible to determine whether this is in Londoners’ best interests ahead of any final offer being received from the Government.
“Ministers need to provide TfL with long-term financial sustainability to ensure London makes a rapid recovery to support the country’s recovery.”
At a meeting of the London Assembly’s transport committee earlier this month, TfL chief Andy Byford said that he “would like to get a 12-month deal” from the Government but acknowledged that “it will be a shorter deal than that”.
Mr Byford said: “We can’t carry on with these hand to mouth deals. We must move on to a more secure financial footing. I’ve implored Government to see us as part of the solution. There is a real benefit in investing in transport to get London’s economy moving again.”
The announcement of the extension has been met with a mixed reaction, including by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry which represents business leaders across the capital.
Richard Burge, chief executive of the Chamber, said: “It is of course welcome that funding has been offered to keep the network moving. However, it’s already clear that another deal would be needed beyond the mid-May funding deadline, as TfL’s revenue will still be significantly impacted by loss of commuters and tourists, likely into late 2021. It’s therefore disappointing that the offer doesn’t extend further at this stage.”