The UK government provided a GBP 1.6 billion (EUR 1.8 billion) funding package to support the recovery of London public transport system due to coronavirus pandemic. The deal, a grant of GBP 1 billion (EUR 1.2 billion) and a loan of GBP 505 million (EUR 570.5 million) runs until October 2020.
This agreement includes increasing service levels as soon as possible to ensure people can follow social distancing guidelines while on the network, making sure those who have no alternative to public transport can travel safely.
To safeguard services on the network, the government has agreed a package consisting of a mixture of grants and loans based upon a series of conditions agreed by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan.
A London COVID-19 task force, comprising representatives of the government and TfL, has been established to oversee operational decisions during the crisis. The collective focus will be on taking all practicable steps to increase the number of services as quickly as possible to benefit passengers who have no alternative to public transport.
“This deal will encourage a real move towards greener and healthier walking and cycling options, ease pressure on our public transport and provide certainty and stability for London’s transport services in the future,” Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said.
The package will see the reintroduction of fares on buses and reinstatement of the congestion charge. It will also focus on promoting traffic management and active travel to maximise the benefits of the government’s record GBP 2 billion (EUR 2.2 billion) investment in cycling and walking. This will include efforts to push forward new segregated cycles lines, pavement extension and road closures to traffic, making it easier for people to chooser greener ways to travel.
“We now need to help London recover as restrictions on movement are gradually eased, with public health and more active forms of travel at the forefront of our thinking. To maintain social distancing wherever possible, the transport network needs to operate differently during this extraordinary period. In line with advice from the Government and Mayor we are encouraging people who can work from home to continue to do so to enable the people who must travel to do so safely,” London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown MVO said.
London public transport system fare and other revenue has fallen by 90 per cent due to coronavirus. London has operated up to 70 per cent of peak Tube services and over 80 percent of bus services.
TfL operates services for around a billion passengers a year, serving a city of 10 million. More bus journeys were completed in London last year than across the rest of England put together, but the coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the tube and bus network.