Transport for London has published preliminary plans to raise fares each year from 2021 as part of efforts to balance its books following the delayed opening of Crossrail.
The delay is expected to cost TfL up to £600m in lost fares revenue, with millions more lost in commercial income, on top of which TfL and City Hall need to repay a £1.4bn Government loan made to allow construction to be completed.
While the agency says it will continue to make efficiency savings over the next five years, a revised business plan published on Tuesday makes it clear that TfL managers and Mayor Sadiq Khan will need to make tough decisions in order to shore-up its finances.
Plans to buy additional trains for the Northern and Jubilee lines have been axed, as has a planned signal upgrade on the Piccadilly Line and plans to transform Tube stations, including Camden Town.
The revised plan says “such large-scale investment will not be possible without capital funding from the Government.”
In addition to axing service upgrades, TfL is also planning to cut jobs in order to deliver a 30% reduction in its wage bill.
Despite these measures, the agency has based its future finances on the assumption that Mr Khan’s fares freeze will end after the next Mayoral election, with fares rising by more than inflation in each year from January 2021.
The business plan notes that the final decision on fares will be taken by the post 2020 Mayor but says the assumed increases would support “vital investment in public transport.”
Previous warnings that TfL lacks the cash to deliver Khan’s transport vision are repeated and the plan also shows reduced spending on roads and pavements is likely to see the number in a “good” state fall in future years, potentially worsening motor and foot journeys for many Londoners.