London Assembly members have expressed “concern” about Transport for London’s ability to deliver on the mayor’s transport ambitions given budget pressures.
In a report published today, the Assembly’s Budget & Performance Committee notes that “most” projects contained in the agency’s 2016 business plan have seen their completion dates slip, including a commitment to boost the number of step-free Tube stations and planned upgrades to DLR trains.
Other projects such as signalling upgrades on the Piccadilly Line and the removal of the Vauxhall Cross gyratory have been paused.
The committee warns that additional costs associated with the delayed completion of Crossrail, expected to cost at least £400m more than its original budget, and any shortfall in future fares income could see TfL forced to postpone or cancel even more projects.
It also expresses concern that a decision to suspend proactive road maintenance for two years “has led to a deterioration in the vital TfL Road Network”.
Today’s report says: “The state of good repair (SOGR) for carriageway on the TfL Road Network is being allowed to deteriorate to 87 per cent in 2020-21. This means that on average, more than one mile in every eight will be sub-standard.
“TfL understands that poor quality roads discourage cyclists. Before the decision to pause proactive road maintenance, TfL claimed that a SOGR of 94 per cent was necessary to facilitate the kind of increase in cycling that it wanted to see.
“It follows that reducing SOGR to 87 per cent will make it harder for cycling to increase in line with the Mayor’s aim to have 80 per cent of all trips made by bicycle, walking or public transport by 2041.”
Assembly Members have called on both Mayor Sadiq Khan and TfL to be “much clearer” about which projects are potentially at risk during the next four years and to ensure that the public and government know which projects are of the highest priority.
They also urge the Mayor to have TfL publish a full assessment of how much it would cost to continue the fares freeze for a further mayoral term so that decisions on fare levels “can be made with full knowledge of the likely impact on its business plan.”
Mr Khan’s current freeze has cost TfL £640 million in lost fares income, however TfL bosses have previously said the freeze has helped insulate its rail services from the drop-off in passenger numbers seen by other operators.
Committee chair Len Duvall said: “The Mayor has set TfL an ambitious target of ensuring 80 per cent of journeys are made via walking, cycling or public transport.
“How this will be achieved, in the context of additional Crossrail costs and further delays, and the reduction in the level of investment in the transport network, is a concern for the Committee.”