Services saved from cuts by Mayor’s funding
But trade union still disappointed at remaining TfL cuts, blames government
Extra funding from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has saved TfL bus services from being cut.
Despite the Mayor’s actions, trade union Unite is still disappointed at the cuts that will still be made, blaming the government for lack of funding.
Substantial cuts to the central and inner London bus network were proposed due to the government’s Covid funding deal, with more than 70 routes originally planned to be affected. The government required TfL to make savings equivalent to 4% of the bus network, and a package of changes were proposed and consulted on to help achieve this.
Additional funding provided by the Mayor now means only 18 routes will be affected. Sadiq Khan has been able to identify additional funding for TfL averaging around £25m per year. This is in addition to a £500m City Hall financing facility, which is still required for TfL to maintain a balanced budget.
TfL will still go ahead with 22% of the service changes consulted on, which are all in areas with numerous alternative public transport options and in areas where, following the changes, there will be enough capacity on buses to meet demand. TfL says passengers will still be able to make the same journeys, with additional interchanges in some instances, in which case they will benefit from the Mayor’s Hopper Fare. By going ahead with the remaining proposals, TfL says it is able to improve the reliability of buses in central London, while allowing for investment in bus provision in outer London.
“I was furious on behalf of Londoners that TfL was having to consider reducing the bus network due to conditions attached by the government to the funding deal” – Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I was furious on behalf of Londoners that TfL was having to consider reducing the bus network due to conditions attached by the government to the funding deal. The strength of feeling across the capital was clear to me, and I was adamant that I would explore every avenue available to me to save as many buses as possible.
“This will mean tough decisions elsewhere, but I am very pleased that the vast majority of bus routes proposed to be cut due to the government’s funding conditions can now be saved. TfL has looked carefully at the small amount of routes still affected in order to reduce the impact on passengers as much as possible.
“Buses sit at the heart of the capital’s transport network and have a key role to play as we continue building a better, greener and fairer city for all Londoners.”
Cllr Adam Hug, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “It is great news that the Mayor of London and TfL have listened to the case we have been making to them. We’ve been able to secure a significant number of the main bus routes serving Westminster.
“Buses are a vital lifeline for so many of the people who live and work here – whether getting to the office, hospital, or other appointments, they make our lives work. We urged local people to make their views known during the consultation and it’s clear that our collective voice has been clearly heard – so a big thanks to everyone who got involved.”
Trade union disappointment
Trade union Unite has expressed disappointment over the Mayor and TfL going ahead with some of their planned bus route cuts.
Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “This is ultimately a disappointing decision. The fact that TfL is going ahead with 22 per cent of cuts still means a reduction in jobs and will mean that passengers will have to contend with services that are less frequent, slower and more expensive.
“What is beyond a doubt is that the highly motivated campaigns led by bus workers and local communities had an enormous effect and forced TfL to rethink much of its cuts agenda.”
“The ultimate villain of the piece is the government, which is starving public transport in London” – Unite lead officer for London buses, John Murphy
Unite lead officer for London buses, John Murphy, said: “The ultimate villain of the piece is the government, which is starving public transport in London and forcing Londoners to pay the price for the Covid pandemic through cuts in services.”