Tube and bus fares set to rise as TfL Rail and c2c resume full service
- Credit: PA
TfL Rail and c2c will both be resuming full services as of Monday, May 18.
But public transport users in London will be hit by fare increases and restrictions on free travel due to the government’s £1.6billion bailout of Transport for London (TfL).
TfL will be increasing service levels to around 85 per cent on the bus network, at least 70pc on the Tube and London Overground (in line with national rail services), 80 per cent on the DLR and a full service on TfL Rail.
London Underground is aiming to restore the Circle Line and to re-open some of the 37 stations that have been closed for several weeks.
The c2c rail will be returning back to the standard weekday timetable, but has advised that while they are increasing services to the maximum level possible capacity would remain “extremely limited” due to social distancing measures.
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Mayor Sadiq Khan accused the Department for Transport (DfT) of “making ordinary Londoners pay the cost for doing the right thing on Covid-19”.
The department said it included a series of caveats as part of the funding package “in order to safeguard services in the future”.
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Temporary measures consist of stopping free travel for children and only allowing people over 60 or with a disability to travel for free outside peak hours.
Fares on buses - scrapped to help protect drivers from Covid-19 - will be reintroduced, and the congestion charge for people driving into the centre of the city will resume.
These changes will take place “as soon as practicable”, the DfT said.
The department also announced that TfL will introduce above-inflation fare rises from next year. Fares will go up by RPI+1per cent.
Mr Khan has frozen single fares since he became mayor in May 2016.
The bailout consists of a £1.1bn grant and a £505m loan.
Mr Khan said it was “not the deal I wanted but it was the only deal the government put on the table”.
He went on: “I had no choice but to accept it to keep the Tubes and buses running.
“Fares income has fallen by 90pc in the last two months because Londoners have done the right thing and stayed at home - so there simply isn’t enough money coming in to pay for our services.”
The DfT said the agreement means TfL will increase service levels “as soon as possible to ensure people can follow social distancing guidelines while on the network”.
Concerns have been raised about packed Tube trains and buses this week after the prime pinister encouraged people in England to go to work if they cannot work from home.
A London Covid-19 Task Force - featuring representatives from the government and TfL - has been established to oversee operational decisions during the pandemic.
The government will immediately carry out a broad-ranging review of TfL’s finances and structure, which will includes “the potential for efficiencies”, the DfT revealed.
Two “special representatives” will join TfL’s board on behalf of the government “in order to ensure best value for money for the taxpayer”.
TfL has been in talks with ministers for several weeks over a grant, as it requires £3.2bn to balance its proposed emergency budget for 2020/21.
On Thursday, Mr Khan warned that TfL would need to reduce services unless an agreement was reached by the end of the day.
A decline in passenger numbers of 95pc on the London Underground and 85pc on buses due to the coronavirus lockdown has caused a 90pc fall in TfL’s income.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said services must be increased to “support social distancing and ensure our capital keeps moving”.
He went on: “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.”