TfL’s funding deal with the government, which was due to run expire today, has been extended until the end of next week as both sides still debate the terms of a longer-term funding settlement.

The extension will continue to support the capital and the transport network until 28 May 2021 on the same terms as now, and comprises an additional funding payment of £65 million with a top-up grant available based on actual passenger revenues.

The extension of the funding deal comes the week that a major report into the National Rail network is due to be published by the government – the long-delayed, and renamed Williams Report. There have been suggestions that with the rail franchises being reviewed in favour of a London Overground style concession that TfL may be granted control over parts of the mainline railways feeding into the capital as it has long been arguing for.

In a statement from the Department for Transport, they said that “support for London needs to be balanced with the national recovery and ensure fairness and value for money for the taxpayer.”

However, these short term extensions are the very opposite of what any organisation in any industry would struggle with, and with TfL’s investment plans often running years into the future, it will need to secure a long term funding agreement.

The Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, Catherine McGuinness, said: “This short extension to TfL’s funding settlement is only a sticking plaster rather than the long-term funding package that London needs.

It’s not just to London’s benefit to have TfL’s finances on a long term secure footing, but also essential for TfL’s many suppliers all around the country as well, as they need a reliable customer as much as London needs a reliable transport network.

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7 comments
  1. Melvyn says:

    With the end of rail franchises which were often for only 5-7 years and thus made major investment in new and upgraded stations uneconomic.

    Then perhaps it’s time to transfer stations ( except national terminals) to local transport bodies like TFL, Merseyrail etc thus allowing long term investment in stations with development funding better facilities like step free access and profit from profitable sites co-funding upgrades of smaller stations.

    In London TFL has plenty of experience of running a rail network which raises the question as to whether sections of Network Rail should be transferred to TFL ownership ?

  2. Nick says:

    I long argued against this. For a start I believe TFL can use the money on improving the London underground and expansion. I have also suggested that London bus services be fully privatised and commercially run which would create competition on heavily used routes whilst making reductions and cuts to very underused services, I have records of pre-covid use of many services carrying 0 passengers after 22.30 till end of service usually around 00.40. Why are we pushing money at services not being used.

    However, TFL could still have some regulatory power over the commercially run bus services.

    Arriva makes a good example of economically running the 477 in Orpington to Dartford which runs partly within TFL’s area. It runs services at the right time.

    I just don’t think it’s a good idea to throw money at services that are being used by 0 people. During Covid the levels dipped even further and TFL could have introduced a temporary timetable. Instead it bankrupted itself.

    So no rail services should stay as they are.

    Southeastern,Southern,Thameslink and Great Northern, one of which I use daily and the others now and again have made vast improvements and during the Covid pandemic they have always gone one step ahead of TFL at keeping services clean and safe.

    I board a TFL rail service train at Hayes and Harlington to Paddington and I see dried sick on the floor. So much for extra cleaning

    • Andy Thomas says:

      Public transport is subsidised by the tax payer for the greater good of society, the railways cost huge sums of money to run and subsidies are essential, but we accept that as the benefits are very apparent.

      Busses are just as essential but in rural areas they are often neglected. An example being the 477, that used to run until after 11pm, it was lightly used late at night but provided a useful service, I’d often go somewhere by bus, or for a very long walk knowing I could stop off for a few pints and get the bus back, once the route was cut back it served no purpose for me and I just drove where and wanted to go and visited pubs that better served by public transport if I wanted to travel, and that’s the problem with looking at it from a profit point of view, patronage will be driven down until only those that have to use the service do and everyone else drives.

      London and other cities have long seen this as a completely unsustainable way of working, indeed since I’ve been back in London, the vast majority of my essential journeys before Covid were by public transport in a way that is just not possible in Dartford.

      It seems as if the gap between towns and cities has widened immeasurably over the last 40 years and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Busses have to be as accessible to as many as possible and much more joined up thinking and planning is required, running services for profit hurts those most in need of said services.

  3. Nick says:

    I forgot to mention. Why should I trust TFL to run the railways when they have completely failed with crossrail.

    Crossrail was planned in the 80s when I was born, I’m in my late 30s and it’s still not finished. Billions over budget and opening 4/5 years late doesn’t impress me.

    London overground is also run by Arriva. So let’s say we hand all of it to them, they completely F-D up the railways in Northern England twice in 2002 and last year first with Arriva Trains Northern and Northern rail.

    At the moment London Overground only manages a few lines. Give them everything and it will be meltdown. The East London line is always closed everytime I try to use to the point I’d just get a taxi instead.

    • ianVisits says:

      ” Why should I trust TFL to run the railways when they have completely failed with Crossrail.” <-- TfL were not in charge of building Crossrail, it was an arms-length operation that TfL had no control over.

  4. NG says:

    Nick
    So – you want to privatise London bus services, so that they will become as appalling as those in the rest of the country?
    Maybe not a good idea?

  5. Alex Mckenna says:

    Go one step outside London, to Essex say, and see what privatization does to bus services. They vanish without trace.

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