Coronavirus: Transport for London secures emergency £1.6bn cash injection

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Passengers sit in a quiet London Underground tube train in London on May 14, 2020 after a partial loosening of the coronavirus lockdown guidelines. Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

Transport for London (TfL) has just secured £1.6bn ($1.95bn) in emergency funding to keep bus and tube services running until September this year.

Earlier on Thursday, the daily government press briefing was led by transport secretary Grant Shapps. He veiled a spending plan, including a £2bn programme of road and rail repairs, promising to fix around 11 million potholes, and also said he was “optimistic” about reaching a deal to keep TfL services running after London mayor Sadiq Khan warned it was close to running out of cash.

On LBC radio earlier, Khan said: “Being blunt, today is the last day. Unless the government gives us confirmation of the grant we need, then the consequences could be quite severe and the ramifications for all of us will be huge. Because we are required to keep two months’ money to pay for services, we’ll have to start reducing services.”

Shapps at the briefing signalled Tube fares could rise, warning it was “unfair” for taxpayers outside London to fund a rescue package.

“We don't know what the long-term will be. But in the short-term trains and buses will continue to run," he said.

According to the BBC, a £500m loan agreed with the Department for Transport forms part of the total.

The emergency funds from the government come with conditions. This includes:

  • The return of a full tube service

  • Review of TfL’s finances

  • Government officials taking seats on the board that oversees the transport operator