Losing an entire tube line is one of the options Transport for London has to consider due to its financial crisis, it turns out.
TfL CFO Simon Kilonback said the failure to raise money from the government for long-term repairs and upgrades would have disastrous effects on the capital’s transportation network.
Mr Kilonback told the TfL finance committee on Wednesday that TfL could be forced to “completely close a line or part of a line or make minor reductions throughout the area” [Underground] Network”.
He didn’t name the line most likely to close, but the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines are reportedly at risk.
The Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines could also be options due to lower passenger numbers and overlapping rail or subway services.
DLR and London Overground are also at risk, Heidi Alexander, the deputy mayor for transport, told the committee.
Mr Kilonback said there was a risk that TfL would have to issue a “Section 114 Report” declaring himself bankrupt and returning responsibility for services to the government.
This would mean that it would only commit to providing statutory services such as school buses, taxi licenses, certain road repairs and the Woolwich Ferry.
It is also likely that TfL would try to only offer services that it made “profit”, he suggested.
A video of the TfL meeting can be viewed here:
Mayor Sadiq Khan has requested an urgent meeting with Secretary of Transportation Grant Shapps but has not yet received a response.
TfL Commissioner Andy Byford told the TfL Finance Committee that there are “less than three weeks to save TfL and the recovery of London”.
He said, “I never thought I’d say this, but getting the Elizabeth Line across the line seems like a hell of an easier sight than trying to sort this out.”
Mr Byford has written to the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Transport to open negotiations. He said he was keen to avoid what happened in the last bailout when an agreement was reached only “11 minutes before the deal ended”.
Passengers are also likely to face an increase in fare from the New Year onwards. TfL’s plans expect the RPI interest rate to increase by one percent.
This likely means an additional five percent on fares, although Mr Khan has the final say.
TfL ticketing boss Shashi Verma said: “This is the city with the highest public transport in the world at the beginning.”
Mr Kilonback said, “I think we are unfortunately faced with the situation we first faced in May 2020 where we need to examine what is required by law and say that we are under S114 of the local Government Finance Act Can’t see a way to balance the budget.
“This requires that we convert all other than the legally required expenditure, which is very limited in relation to the transport services we operate, and continue to do things that help to get out of the problem and stop everything that” makes it worse Problem.
“While in the past the underground and some of our rail services have certainly covered their operating costs. That is not the case today. This is not a threat. This is the reality of the legal situation we find ourselves in given the lack of certainty about funding. “
When asked whether London’s tariffs are the highest in the world, a TfL spokeswoman said: “In London, 72 percent of the operating costs for operating the TfL network are covered entirely by tariffs and a further 14 percent by other commercial revenues.
“Other cities cover a much larger part of their costs through government subsidies or special-purpose taxes.”