TfL finances improve - but £500m funding gap remains

Transport for London’s funding gap will be lower than expected - but a £500 million shortfall still remains in the latter part of this financial year.

The capital’s transport authority published its revised budget on July 26. TfL now assumes a full-year funding requirement of £1.9 billion, down from £2.7bn in the March 2021-22 budget. 

Of this, £1.4bn has already been secured through the recent funding agreements with Government. The £500m gap covers the period beyond the December 11 end date of the existing funding agreement.

Prior to the pandemic, fares made up around 70% of the operating budget. Passenger numbers in the UK capital remain depressed, although total journeys have now reached some 54% of pre-pandemic levels (this rises to 60%-65% at weekends.

TfL had been expected to deliver an operating surplus by 2022-23, having reduced its net cost of operations by almost £1bn over the past four years and increased cash reserves to more than £2bn. 

The revised budget, which has been put forward for approval by the TfL board, assumes no material change to service levels on buses, Underground or rail compared with the Financial Sustainability Plan published in January.

The savings come from higher operational savings, some deferrals of the capital spend into 2022-23,and TfL’s use of its own cash.

To read the full story, see RAIL 937

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