Part of the cost of funding trains and buses could be higher council taxes across London, on top of higher fares and a wider congestion charge.

Although Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT) are still negotiating over the terms of a medium-term funding to cover the lockdown losses, some details are emerging.

It was already known that the DfT wants the London congestion charge zone massively expanded to cover the whole area within the north and south circular roads – bringing roughly 4 million Londoners into the congestion zone.

It’s now being suggested that London’s council taxes may need to rise as well, with the Mayor’s precept portion of the council tax being increased to raise money for TfL.

Although TfL fares were already expected to rise by one per cent above inflation, it’s being suggested that the fares rise could be higher than that. The Government is also pushing with plans to remove free travel for under-18s and are now also proposing the removal of the 60+ photocard.

The Mayor called on the Government to reconsider its ‘ill-advised and draconian’ proposal and warned their plan would ‘punish Londoners for doing the right thing to tackle Covid-19’.

The DfT is reported to be considering taking direct control of TfL away from the Mayor if a deal is not agreed. In a letter, Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary said that “We will be taking reserve legislative powers allowing us if necessary to direct TfL,” — adding that this would be “combined with a further series of short-term funding settlements.”

Regardless of who runs TfL, the notion of short-term funding settlements would see TfL returned to the situation its various predecessors faced in the past — having to go to the Treasury every year to beg for money and being unable to plan for the long term future of London’s transport.

The DfT is also reported to be pushing for more work on driverless trains, even though that’s not only going to make a modest impact on TfL costs, it could only be delivered at a cost of billions in network upgrades.

In fact, if the goal is to cut costs, then as the London Underground makes an operational profit and drivers salary are a small portion of its costs — driverless trains is a waste of effort. Driverless buses though — that’s where a genuine saving would occur, as buses run at a loss and drivers salaries make up over half the cost of running a bus.

Driverless buses are less politically “sexy” though, not to mention far harder to build – so all the fuss is on driverless trains even though there are minimal cost savings to be had from them.

TfL and the DfT having until the end of next week to agree on terms, otherwise, TfL faces the potential of being legally required to shut down any non-statutory services — which would mean most buses and trains being taken out of service until a deal is agreed.

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12 comments on “Londoners facing higher council taxes to bail out TfL
  1. I’d rather have to pay more for my tickets and coucil tax than hand over TfL to the the man who want to me London Mayor even though he PM.

    London Council taxes are tiny compared to outside!

  2. Ken says:

    TFL spending seems to be more based on buying votes for the labour party than fairly addressing the needs of all londoners. I would object to being asked to pay more for an entity which if anything actively works against my personal interests.

    • Paul Knowles says:

      Your ( Londidium) your hilarious…. what a mess!.. pollution, rubbish, violence, property no one can afford, transport cost. Rat race personified. Enjoy! Lol lol lol lol lol.

  3. Paul Knowles says:

    I don’t live in london.but do enjoy your shit..’ khan and your cost of living. Enjoy.lol. lol

    • Sykobee says:

      Khan is pretty ineffective, but he’s still 10x the mayor Boris was.

      And there’s no need to swear if you have a real worthwhile point to make.

    • Ronnie says:

      But we get paid more (on average) as well. Important to note. I do enjoy the money.

  4. Melvyn says:

    Time we challenged Boris Johnson to hold a cabinet meeting on a driverless tube train. They would be transported to a tunnel deep below London and left there with no member of staff on board !

    The DLR provides a form of halfway house between driverless buses and trains so why not expand the DLR concert to other parts of London. The massive Old Oak Common and Park Royal development seems an ideal place to develop a West London Light Rail Network linking surrounding areas together and allowing a reduction in the numbers of buses !

    Reintroduced Artic buses would also reduce the numbers of buses while providing more capacity!

    It’s worth remembering that it was Boris Johnson as Mayor who introduced the 60+ bus pass and now he wants to remove it showing this is all about Boris Johnson getting to number 10 and nothing else matters!

    Challenge the government to put up funding for driverless tubes that’s what the Mayor should do given nothing will happen before next Mayoral election or indeed the one after that !

  5. Sykobee says:

    This government acts in a politically destructive and vindictive way against non-politically-aligned elected politicians. They don’t care about the people who are affected, or the local knowledge, or long term planning.

    This imparting of collective punishments for the effects of Covid is vile.

    They want to get Londoners to vote Conservative to stop the punishments. That is not democratic.

    Government should put up temporary funding for TfL to get past this pandemic, or alter its long-term funding model to be more in line with international standards.

  6. Overgrounded says:

    I’d go even as far as advocating driverless Teams with Doplar Radar to detect obstructions in close proximity.

    Trams would have to be completely signalled end to end rather than rely on line of sight. You’d reduce the fuel costs, speed up services and enhance capacity all at the same time.

  7. Ronnie says:

    Khan seems to have made a mistake even before Covid when he froze fares. This meant the Jubilee line could no longer get the extra trains it needed. I know there is an argument that overall funds have been cut by central government but why would you freeze fares if it results in trains being lost among other things.

    The simple fact is that we will have to pay higher fares. I’d rather much higher fares than higher council tax. I actually agree with the congestion charge being extended and made more expensive. The less cars on London roads the better, but at the same time this madness of bike lanes in front of bus stops and streets being blocked to cars is just foolish.

    I did not vote for this gentlemen and I will not be voting for him again. I hope he is voted out of office but I don’t see it happening.

  8. Jason says:

    What a mess.
    This seems to be being driven by Chief Tool G Shapps. I’ve never liked the guy.
    Khan stood on a policy of frozen fares…so he’s a prisoner of that perhaps. But has no qualms extending free fares to families of transport workers. Why I should pay for that I don’t know.
    Labour are controlled by Momentum nutjobs, Tories have an ideological and pathological hatred of everything done by or in the public sector, the LibDems are obsessively europhile. We need an alternative.

  9. Chris Rogers says:

    Extending something called and entirely about congestion relief in *central* London to the N/S Circular is politically impossible – I live within 10 minutes’ drive of the Home Counties yet 20 mins in the the direction, under this plan, would render me liable for it – so at the least it will need retitling, as Tony Travers recently argued.

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