Transport for London (TfL) will have to cut the number of buses, tubes, trains and trams in the capital unless the government agrees to bail it out by the end of today, London mayor Sadiq Khan has said.
TfL is “running out” of cash reserves, and under local government law cannot go bust. “The only way to balance the books is to cut services,” he said. TfL has lost more than 90 per cent of its fares during the coronavirus pandemic, Khan said, and has been trying to negotiate grant money with the government, but it has proved “really hard” to get support from ministers.
“Being blunt, today is the last day. Unless the government today gives us confirmation of the grant that we need then the consequences could be quite severe and ramifications for all of us will be huge,” he told LBC.
”So ironically at a time when the government’s wanting us to increase services, ramp up services to get into the recovery phrase, we may be required to cut services because the government is failing to give us the grant support we desperately need.”
Cutting services is likely to increase overcrowding on tubes, trains and buses, making social distancing even more difficult than it already is.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said today that discussions between the government and TfL were at an “advanced stage”.