London Underground, Uxbridge station

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announces likely cuts to bus and tube services

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Tube and bus services face cuts due to a £1.9bn funding gap, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced today (Nov 18).

The news comes under a looming December 11 deadline, after which temporary government funding for Transport for London (TFL) will run out.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “There can be no national economic recovery, without a London recovery and there can be no London recovery without a properly funded public transport network in the capital.”

He also stated that he supported investment in transport schemes for other regions of the country but that “clipping the wings of London is not the answer if you want to help other cities and regions to soar.”

He indicated that some bus routes could be cut and that some tube services may become less frequent.

A government spokesman told the BBC: “We have repeatedly shown our commitment to supporting London’s transport network through the pandemic.”

In addition to the cuts, London underground fares are set to increase 4.8 per cent next year — approximately 19 pence for a Zone 1-4 journey.

This will be the highest fare increase since 2013, when there were several years of hikes following the 2008 financial crisis.

Transport for London saw its income devastated by dwindling passenger numbers during the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to keep buses and trains running in the nation’s capital, the government gave Transport for London several loans totalling nearly £4bn.

In exchange, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has agreed to government demands that TFL raise its fares annually one percentage point above the retail price index (RPI).

The RPI is a measure of inflation used to value general price increases, or decreases, of everyday items.

The increases are based on the July RPI which, in 2021, was 3.8 per cent, therefore, next year’s fare increase can be expected at 4.8 per cent.

Underground fares begin to significantly exceed the RPI for the first time since the aftermath of the financial crisis. All future changes in fares are set to be one per cent above the RPI.

When Sadiq Khan took office in 2016, he froze fare increases on TFL services. During his March 2020 election campaign, however, he admitted he would end the fares freeze but keep increases below the RPI – this was before the full effects of the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK. 

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