The London Assembly has called on TfL to publish how much a second fares freeze might cost as soon as possible. It also urges the government to devolve Vehicle Excise Duty revenue to London. The move comes in the wake of evidence of serious financial pressures for TfL with a projected budget deficit of £1billion for 2018/19, exacerbated by Crossrail delays, and follows the current fares freeze which was instigated by London mayor Sadiq Khan after pledges in his 2015 manifesto, a commitment which some believe he is likely to repeat in the next mayoral election.
London Assembly chair of the budget and performance committee, Gareth Bacon, says: “TfL clearly has some way to go to become a financially sustainable public body. The first-term partial fares freeze will end up costing TfL at least £640million; a second-term freeze could be substantially more, and it is simply not sustainable if TfL is to claw its way out of a perilous financial situation.
“Freezing fares is a political decision that the mayor can take, but Londoners deserve to know exactly how much it will cost.
“The public rightly demand value for money and good transport services but the organisation running most of the services in London cannot be left out in the cold through unsustainable policies. TfL needs to have a period of calm in which they make sensible, sure-footed and long sighted financial decisions as part of a concrete plan to get out of the financial doldrums it has fo und itself in.”