London’s famous red buses are at risk of being driven off the streets in a funding row between City Hall and the UK government, Mayor Sadiq Khan warned on Monday.
Khan said further electrification of London’s bus fleet was also at risk, with the date for a zero-emissions fleet likely to slip until at least 2037, Xinhua news agency reported.
Khan explained on Monday that tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs that support Transport for London’s (TfL) supply chain across the country would be at risk if projects were delayed due to a lack of funding.
He warned that if government ministers fail to fund TfL properly, the repercussions will be felt across the country.
TfL has already suspended the award of new bus contracts since early November last year, while 1,000 new TfL-owned red buses are also due for mid-life refurbishment.
“If the government fails to provide the funding required, TfL may not be able to refurbish these buses and, alongside possible reductions in bus service under a managed decline scenario, it could be necessary to remove them from the roads,” warned Khan.
He said the transport system is not only essential to London’s success, but also to economic prosperity across the country.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs will be at risk if ministers fail to fund TfL properly. In addition, our progress towards bus electrification will be halted and the capital will suffer with less buses on the roads and an unreliable subway service with aging trains,” he said.
The town hall said the government had only provided a short-term pandemic funding agreement that would last until February 4.
When the pandemic hit, with Londoners staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus, passenger numbers on London’s public transport system plummeted by 95%, which had a devastating impact on TfL’s finances.
TfL said 72% of its operating revenue came from fares, compared to just 38% in New York or Paris.
“Without a clear commitment to provide sufficient long-term funding or continued short-term agreements, TfL must currently plan on the basis of a managed decline in the capital’s public transport network,” a spokesperson for the capital said. the town hall.
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