News in London and beyond

Transport

Clock ticking on TfL bailout & Congestion Charge extension

DLR at Greenwich

Talks between TfL and government on future funding for public transport in London are going to the wire yet again with a deadline of midnight tonight (31st October).

With lockdown number 2 hitting the headlines, talks have taken a backseat in the public’s mind. Government proposals to extend the congestion charge, increase fares substantially above inflation and increase council tax for Londoners met a storm of protest in recent weeks since plans were revealed at talks two weeks ago. The talks failed, and a two week extension was agreed which brings us to today.

If there is no agreement the government have threatened to take over operation under the control of the Department for Transport, and could then enforce the measures.

Business groups strongly oppose conditions as have many Tories in private.

Council tax looks likely to rise via the GLA precept. Council tax is one of the most regressive taxes with relatively little difference between different bands and wealth. A £20 million central London property can pay around the same council tax including GLA precept (£1,560.56 for the top Band H in Westminster) as a £200k home in some other parts of the capital. Top level council tax in London is far below levels in other major world cities such as New York where a multi-million pound homes pays tens if not hundreds of thousands annually in property tax.

If the Conservative government insist on local funding, they should permit local devolution to raise income. Where better than multi-million pound homes to bring London into line with other major world cities? Placing ever more costs onto low earners in London is hardly fair.

Bailey

Government and the London Conservative Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey have attempted to blame Sadiq Khan for a lack of income rather than the pandemic – though the numbers used in attempts to demonstrate “waste” are transparently not enough to compensate for covid costs.

Tube to stop? It seems unthinkable

TfL were looking at fare income of £5.4 billion in 2021/22 in business plans before the pandemic. This year they had budgeted for fare income at just over £5 billion.

From 23rd Match bus passenger numbers fell around 80 per cent at a stroke and tube numbers even further. The deaths of over 30 bus drivers saw emergency measures including rear-door only boarding. Seven months on and bus numbers had reached 60 per cent of normal levels and tube numbers 40 per cent – yet new restrictions are seeing that fall again. A new lockdown will see it fall further.

That has cost big sums, and Bailey’s examples of savings come nowhere near making up the shortfall. He has pushed various examples of savings which barely touch the surface compared to reductions in fare income.

He comes up with a new example of “waste” and “costs” almost daily. Last week it was travel passes for TfL staff; a perk that has existed for decades. Bailey portrayed it as “passes for flatmates” rather than the reality, a single pass (not passes) and usually for spouses – though staff have discretion to pick one allocated person.

He attributes costs such as those  as a factor in TfL being “bankrupt”, when audited figures show the operating deficit had reduced in recent years and was on track for break even.

Debts that Bailey does mention are capital costs. Any infrastructure improvement has capital dept and costs attached. Nothing would have ever been built without it.

And it’s not as if night buses are great for staff to reach depots or stations. Indeed, many night bus services have been cut back in recent years due to TfL losing £700 million a year in funding. Overnight tubes have been suspended for months with bailout number 1 in May including that as a condition of funding.

With a new lockdown being announced today, will it be used as cover to push through measures? We should find out soon.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Comments

  1. Roy

    We already have 100% denial by Govt and Medical Experts over a minor virus
    No doubt all the blame is shoved onto tfl who in my opinion have been a great organisation having lived here 25 years.
    Its obvious the destruction of tfl income is the Govt but no one takes responsibility.
    And Bailey…I cannot write the anglo saxon words that best describe my opinion of him

    • Jon

      Please don’t call Covid a minor virus.

    • Roy. Please stop being a complete arse about Covid.

      Don’t tell the relatives of my son’s 38 year old mate who died gasping for breath in March that he was the victim of a ‘minor virus.’

      • HK

        As terrible as the loss of life is, it is statistically extremely likely people survive if they catch Covid-19 (a fraction under 1%) – again terrible for those who have lost their lives but we really do need to look put things into perspective compared to other deaths and the massive build up of upcoming deaths from untreated diseases and other deadly health conditions that will go untreated which will dwarf the Covid deaths.
        Then we will have the up and coming fallout of the economy which is going to cause a secondary crisis (and lead to deaths).
        I’ve been following many experts who are ripping Sage (Vallance, Whitty & co) into shreads, claiming that the data is pretty much junk (my words).
        People need to follow Dr Mike Yeadon (former scientific advisor for pfizer) who use to know Patrick Vallance and has stated that he is knowingly lying in some of his claims.
        There are really qualified people who are challenging Sage’s models/assumptions that need more exposure on the mainstream media. The BBC have been awful in challenging the Government on some of the claims!

        The Behavioural insight team have a lot to answer for!!!

        Sorry, i’ve gone off topic, but i’m livid at the situation we are all in!

        • Lololol

          It’s under 1% for younger population, it goes above 12% for older, making the average of around 2%. There are 7 billion people on the planet, if only 50% gets the virus, and it has the potential to be more if left rampant, then we’re talking about a death toll of nearly 100 million, 50 million taking your 1%.
          Let’s say it’s a good solution for retirement issues! But no government would take the risk of killing 2% of their population, sadly.

  2. Roy

    If the Govt wanted a Conservative London Mayor they should have put up a credible Candidate 4 years ago
    And look what shite they have put forward this time

    • Ian Pethick

      Agreed. If they had selected Justine Greening or Karen Brady for example, they may well have had a credible chance of winning. No idea where they dredged this idiot Bailey up from.
      Shame that Rory Stewart dropped out of the running, he may well have picked up lots of voters who could never support the Tories and given Sadiq Khan a real contest.

  3. Eugene

    Covid or not, motorists must not pay for public transport failure. They should have kept parts of transport system separetly. Now they would have issues with public transport only, rather then the whole system.
    Investigate, trial, punish the ones in fault.

  4. George

    Although I don’t use London transport as the thought of mixing with all those people on the underground like sardines before the covid makes me feel sick.

    I knew he never was the right candidate for the job and how he last so long God knows.

    I don’t think he had his heart for London just the money and fame.

    As a driver by trade in central London, he has make it worse from cost a lot of jobs to fold in the city.

    He says is a very good believer in pollution for our city that he closes are side roads so leaves us no choice than usr the main roads that means more traffic.

    He stops vehicles over 2 ton to go through Rotherhithe tunnel which means we have to use Tower Bridge makes no sense to me.

    The quicker he goes the better.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.