Transport for London (TfL) fear that Boris Johnson’s “work from home if they can” will cripple effort to restore their finances.
At the first stage of the pandemic TfL’s income fell by 90% which saw a £1.6bn government bail-out. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is now seeking a further £4.7bn for TfL, £1.8bn will keep Tube services going until the end of March 2021, whilst a further £2.9bn will go towards the 2021/22 financial year.
TfL’s finance chief Simon Kilonback said that the “outlook for the year remains uncertain” as a large number of people are not returning back to the office, along with the 10pm curfew in London.
Kilonback said the “recent tightening of restrictions on food and hospitality sector, coupled with updated guidance to work from home if possible, make recovery this year increasingly unlikely.”
Heidi Alexander, the deputy mayor for transport said that TfL has gone from £13m a day last year, to just £5m a day, as fares have fallen since the lockdown and more recently since the stricter measures were imposed.
Emma Gibson, director of London TravelWatch said, “TfL’s budget planning included a winter second Covid wave but also assumes that fares income will be back up to 80 per cent by the end of next year.
“The Prime Minister’s encouragement to go back to working at home has so far resulted in a small dip in demand but it is obvious that there is more uncertainty ahead about how much TfL can raise from fares income.
“Having the money to keep the Tube and buses running at their current level is not just crucial for London’s recovery but also to allow Londoners to able to use public transport in a socially distanced way.”