Capital's public safety at risk of burning due to TfL managed decline
Safety of passengers at risk if TFL moves into "managed decline" according to transport association.
The safety of London's travelling public is at risk if the government fails to settle with Transport for London (TfL) and sends the operator into "managed decline" warns the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA).
The Department for Transport (DfT) put a £3.6bn capital funding settlement for TfL on the table on July 22and the two parties have been locked in negotiations ever since.
Notes from the recent TfL board meeting reveal that the deal is so complex that collaborative conversations are ongoing to clarify the terms and the final draft has yet to be formed.
Without a capital funding deal – which is used to maintain and upgrade its infrastructure, vehicles and other assets – TfL has said the city’s transport network will enter into a state of managed decline. This would involve significant service reductions, deteriorating asset conditions and no new enhancement schemes, while other priorities such as such as safety, decarbonisation and air quality would fail to progress.
A spokesperson for TfL said: “TfL kept London moving through the darkest periods of the pandemic and we have consistently made the case to Government that there can be no UK recovery without a London recovery and no London recovery without a properly funded transport network.
“We remain in active discussions with the Government to ensure that the draft funding proposal that they have made is fair and deliverable and can prevent the managed decline of the capital’s transport network. We continue to work with the DfT on the wording of the draft proposal.”
A spokesperson for the Office of Rail and Road said: “ORR is closely monitoring TfL to ensure it is not compromising on the delivery of its obligations in respect of health and safety.”
TfL commissioner Andy Byford has warned that 45 of London’s bridges and tunnels are in degrading condition and remain open only thanks to special measures in place to keep them safe. If there is no agreement reached soon, the operator has wanred that it may have to close some of them rather than risk the safety of travellers.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “This shows the Department for Transport's deliberate strategy of managed decline for Transport for London, which will lead to cuts in services and affect safety and the ability to deal with incidents across the whole of London's transport network.
“This is the government's crisis, caused by their withdrawal of public funding for TfL since 2015. This something that no other major city anywhere in the world is stupid enough to do. It ignores not only the environmental imperative to fund public transport in the capital but also the interests of London’s businesses - particularly the leisure and night-time economies - and most egregiously puts a disproportionate financial burden to fund transport on the poorest Londoners, some of whom are our key workers who keep London running.