Sadiq Khan accused of failing to control TfL finances by senior London Tory

Sadiq Khan accused of failing to control TfL finances by senior London Tory

Speaking to the Standard, Conservative London General Assembly member Andrew Boff claimed Mr Khan has failed to come to terms with TfL’s finances and further suggested the mayor is hindering the capital’s post-Covid return.

Mr Boff warned Londoners are set for a “tough time” with the increase in energy and council tax prices as well as the rise in TfL fare prices across the network.

He said: “We’ve seen an increase because he refuses to take control of TfL’s finances. He won’t get to grips with it and blames the Government for everything that goes wrong.

“His knee-jerk reaction is to blame the Government, so it makes you question why he wanted to be elected. Khan must say what he’s going to do to reduce costs.”

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Mr Boff criticised the TfL fare hike

/ Lucy Young

This week, the mayor announced a fare increase which equates to an average of 4.8 per cent across all TfL services.

Single Tube fares using contactless payment will rise by 10p in zone one and between 10-30p across the rest of the network.

Bus fares will rise by 10p to £1.65 in what are some of highest increases in a decade.

Amid the rise in council tax and energy bills, Mr Boff added: “It’s gonna be tough for London. Londoners are ok with tough times as long as there’s a clear reason why it’s happening.

“London is bouncing back and it would be helpful if the mayor helped London to continue to do so.”

Although Mr Khan has been criticised for the increase in rail fares, the mayor did freeze single TfL pay as you go fares in his first four years in office.

Mr Khan did also retain free travel for all children under the age of 11 in the latest announcement and claimed he had done as much as possible to keep fares affordable.

On average fares will increase by 4.8 per cent across the network

/ PA

The mayor was previously instructed by the Government to rise fares in line with national rail increase of 3.8 per cent which comes into force next month.

The Government and TfL are negotiating a long-term funding package for the network, although temporary measures are set to expire on February 18.

Despite the rise in fares, TfL’s finances have been decimated by the pandemic with commuter levels still only reaching 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels as of earlier this month.

The network must generate £500million more a year to reach the Government’s goal of breaking even on its daily operations by April 2023.

Mr Khan said: “Since TfL’s finances were decimated by the pandemic, the Government has set strict conditions as part of the emergency funding deals to keep essential transport services running in London.

“We have been forced into this position by the Government and the way it continues to refuse to properly fund TfL, but I have done everything in my power to keep fares as affordable as possible.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London told the Standard: “The Mayor firmly believes public transport should be affordable for all, freezing fares between 2016 and 2021 and introducing the unlimited Hopper bus fare. He also took a firm hold of TfL’s finances when he became Mayor, reducing the TfL deficit he inherited by 71 per cent, increasing the cash balance by 13 per cent, cutting running costs year on year and was on track to reach a net operating surplus – all whilst freezing fares and introducing the Hopper bus fare.

“The sole reason TfL is facing this financial crisis is because Londoners followed Government advice and stayed at home during the pandemic, decimating fare income from public transport. Sadiq does not want to raise fares for Londoners but has been forced into this position by the Government and the way it continues to set strict conditions as part of the emergency funding deals to keep essential transport services running in London.”

Key changes announced include:

  • Pay-as-you-go Tube fares in zone 1 up 10p to £2.50.
  • Hopper bus fare that allows multiple journeys within an hour increases 10p to £1.65.
  • Daily “cap” on multiple pay-as-you-go Tube journeys rises 3.8 per cent.
  • Daily “cap” on bus journeys up 30p to £4.95.
  • Retention of free travel for all children under 11.
  • Emirates cable car up 25 per cent to £5, with return tickets axed.
  • Minimum cash fare on the Tube up 80p to £6.30.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-tfl-fare-rise-increase-covid-finances-b982715.html

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