From London Underground to 100 bus lines: everything London could lose if TfL doesn’t get billions of dollars in funding

As Mayor Sadiq Khan braces for a confrontation against the central government to secure the future of Transport for London (TfL) before it runs out of money on December 11, he presented the worst-case scenario for Londoners .

TfL Finance Commission documents published last night (Wednesday 17 November) reveal what TfL and city councilors are planning based on how much money the central government is willing to give to the London Transport Authority, which has already received £ 4bn since taking over ran out of money in 2020.

The documents explain that the worst-case scenario is titled ‘managed decline’ and that is the only scenario TfL can afford if it gets less than the £ 1.7 to 1.9 billion it needs each year until 2024/2025.

READ MORE : London bus driver fired after ‘revealing cover-up of Covid outbreaks in bus garages’

TfL boss Commissioner Andy Byford said: “Without significant sustainable investment we will see a damaging vicious cycle of underinvestment and downsizing of services, bringing London back to the 1970s and 1980s era of a aging, infrequent and unreliable transportation system. “

MyLondon examines exactly what London would be on the verge of losing if TfL did not get the funding.

london underground



If TfL doesn’t get the money it needs, we’ll have about 20 more years of these rustic Bakerloo line trains.

The Tube would be essentially frozen in time.

Only the work already started could be completed and there would be no investment other than what is necessary to operate the metro lines legally and safely. This would mean :

  • The oldest electric trains in use in the UK on the Bakerloo line would continue to operate until around 2040. They would then be 68 years old. The additional maintenance this would require will likely mean that service would have to be reduced on the line and eventually cut between Stonebridge Park and Harrow & Wealdstone as they were in 1982. The Bakerloo line extension would not take place. TfL hoped to replace them in its 2023 budget.
  • Trains on the Jubilee line would continue to run into the 2040s. As one of London’s busiest lines with trains dating back to the 1990s, this would put the reliability of the line at risk. TfL already cut off-peak services between West Hampstead and Stanmore earlier this year.
  • No additional stations would be made without a walk, which means that people with mobility needs are at risk of being disproportionately affected.
  • Camden Town and Holborn stations would not get the renovations they need to expand stations and better handle crowds, meaning Camden Town will still only have to exit at certain times.
  • Signaling upgrades couldn’t take place, meaning trains couldn’t run faster and closer to each other like they do on some lines.
  • A real estate developer will still be able to build a space at Elephant & Castle for a renovated and more accessible station at Elephant & Castle, but TfL will not have the money to install the new station building in that space, so it will be a void. .
  • The Piccadilly line would always receive new trains as these trains are already on order and under construction. These trains would remain the most recent on the network for a decade.

London buses and trams



Chances of seeing more double-decker hydrogen buses across London like this on route 245 are slimmer

The number of buses circulating in London will be cut by 4% even in the best-case scenario, with central London buses being redistributed to outside London, where demand is higher due to the lack of public transport links orbital.

The worst-case scenario brings reductions to about 40 percent of routes, either with frequency reductions or with total removal without replacement.

  • More than 100 bus lines would be cut.
  • About 200 bus lines (a third of the remaining lines) would see their frequencies cut. This would mean that you would have to wait longer for buses on these routes than you currently have to.
  • The mayor would miss his target of making London’s buses all zero emissions by 2030 or 2034. This would mean diesel buses would still be running in the capital until at least 2037, contributing to poor quality of the city. city ​​air.
  • Buses may need to be diverted or have extra time in their schedules at Gallows Corner in Romford, as there would be no money to maintain the road junction sufficiently.
  • New trams planned to replace the old trams operating through Croydon would not appear.

Overground, Elizabeth line, DLR and more



DLR trains run between The City, Lewisham, Stratford, Canary Wharf, Beckton and Woolwich

These are the few modes of public transport that would not be so affected.

London’s roads, rivers and taxis



Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to motor vehicles since April 2019
Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to motor vehicles since April 2019

The remaining patches of the TfL network would also be affected. While most of London’s roads are managed by local councils, some important roads are managed by TfL. River crossings would be hit the hardest as there would simply be no money to build other than the Silvertown Tunnel and the maintenance of some of the older crossings would be reduced.

  • Both the Rotherhithe Tunnel and Gallows Corner could close as they require a lot of maintenance, there would be no money for this as there are diversion routes.
  • Vauxhall Cross and Wandsworth Gyratory would not be modernized as planned.
  • The cycle lanes under construction would still be completed but no longer added, with TfL’s Santander cycles still receiving e-bikes next summer, but with no further improvements.
  • Bridge and tunnel closures similar to Hammersmith Bridge could occur at any time. Tolls likely to be introduced.
  • UberBoat (aka Thames Clippers) would continue, as would the Woolwich Ferry, although services may be cut.
  • There would be no additional support to help taxis become greener and apart from ULEZ / ULEX there would be no other congestion / road environment programs introduced as the cost of implementation would be too high .


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Naturally, the backlash has been intense with all political parties coming together to urge the government to give TfL the funding it says it needs. The mayor led the calls, saying: “If the government does not work with us to protect London’s transport network, the capital and the entire country will pay the price for decades to come. “

Caroline Pidgeon, Assembly Member Lib Dem, chair of the transport committee, said: “I hope the government stops playing politics and invests in a long term financial program for London transport, not just to help London, but also the British economy. “

Conservatives in the London Assembly have accused the mayor of sowing fear. Susan Hall AM said: “Sadiq Khan’s ridiculous alarmists are unnecessary. Instead of playing politics, the mayor should constructively engage with the government and do his part to save money.

“The government has provided nearly £ 4 billion to keep London moving since the Covid coup and will continue to do so. “



This is what TfL thinks it can do if the funding gap is closed and it manages to get the “best case scenario”.

Director of London TravelWatch, the organization that represents London’s public transport passengers, Emma Gibson said: “Millions of people depend on London’s buses and subways every day, and maintaining high-frequency service will be an important factor in the recovery of London.

“Research shows that when you reduce the frequency of buses and subways, fewer people use them, which in turn results in less revenue to fund the services you run.”

Later today (November 18), the government is expected to announce details of its integrated rail plan which will outline the direction of rail travel across the country, including London. He is continuing discussions with TfL and the town hall before the December 11 deadline to reach a funding agreement.

TfL’s finance committee that gathered the information used to predict this worst-case scenario will publicly discuss its findings on November 24.

What do you think of TfL’s “managed decline” potential? Tell us in the comments below!

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