Please be assured that I realise this is a big issue locally for commuters and it will affect me as well. Transport for London (TfL) is a statutory corporation created by the Greater London Authority Act 1999. This Act gives the Mayor of London a general duty to develop and apply policies to promote and encourage safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities and services to, from and within London.
I know that the Government is committed to supporting London and the transport network on which it depends, while also supporting the national transport network.
In August 2022, a settlement was agreed between the Department for Transport and TfL which will support almost £3.6 billion worth of projects and secures the long-term future of London’s transport network.
The settlement, which includes just under £1.2 billion of upfront funding and brings government’s total funding to over £6 billion, matches the Mayor’s own pre-pandemic spending plans. The settlement will ensure the network is not only protected against potential lost revenue caused by uncertainty of post-pandemic demand but will also enable the delivery of a number of projects set to revolutionise travel across London. This includes brand new Piccadilly line trains, as well as modernisations and upgrades across the District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith and City and Circle lines in addition to the long-awaited repair of Hammersmith Bridge, the extension of the Northern Line and vital improvements to Elephant and Castle station.
To help keep vital public transport services running in London during the pandemic, I know that the Government provided TfL with funding worth over £4.5 billion. However, support has always been awarded on the condition that TfL reaches financial sustainability as soon as possible.
Great British Railways (GBR) will contract with private companies to operate trains to the timetable and fares it specifies, in a way similar to that used by Transport for London, though this is not a one-size-fits-all approach and some companies may take on more commercial responsibilities.
GBR will contain 5 regional divisions that will work in partnership with regional bodies such as Transport for London.
Currently, Day Travelcards give unlimited travel on TfL services, including bus, Tube, Tram, Docklands Light Railway, London Underground, London Overground and Elizabeth line, and National Rail services in London, and can also be used to get one third off River Services fares. They are only available as paper tickets.
The Mayor of London is currently exploring the option of withdrawing Day Travelcards, and has suggested that the cards will be phased out by 2024. If withdrawn, it is my understanding that Day Travelcards would no longer be sold or accepted by TfL but that daily pay as you go caps would not be affected, nor would weekly and longer-term Travelcards.
The Government has provided TfL with more than £6bn in funding support to keep public transport moving. Although this is ultimately a matter for TfL, I appreciate the concerns raised.
Measures have not included scrappage of free travel for under-18s or TfL’s 60+ Oyster free travel card. However, the restriction on holders of the latter making use of them before 09:00 remains in place and also continues to apply to the Older Persons’ Freedom Pass, which is accepted by TfL but not funded by it.
Transport in London is devolved and is the responsibility of the Mayor of London and Transport for London. This means that fares increases are also a devolved matter.
I know that the Government is committed to supporting London and the transport network on which it depends, while balancing that with supporting the national transport network. However, financial support must also ensure that Transport for London reaches financial sustainability as soon as possible. Identifying new or increased income sources is integral to Transport for London achieving that objective.
A funding and financing package was agreed between TfL and the Department for Transport to support transport services in London for the period from 26 February 2022 to 24 June 2022 and subsequently extended until 28 July. This Fourth Funding Package comprised an Extraordinary Support Grant of £200m payable under section 101 of Greater London Authority Act 1999, paid in three instalments commencing on 29 April 2022.