TfL COVID bailout extended by £485m

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
COVID lockdowns have battered TfL earnings. Photo: Andrew Winning/Reuters
COVID lockdowns have battered TfL earnings. Photo: Andrew Winning/Reuters

Transport for London (TfL) announced it has secured another £485m ($671.7m) in rescue funding on Monday, as prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns continue to batter the network.

The travel provider said the existing funding package would be extended until 18 May. This means an additional £260m in base funding, plus additional revenue support of approximately £225m (depending on actual fares income), will be provided by the government to TfL over this period.

TfL runs London's tube and bus network. The operator has faced a large funding shortfall after stay-at-home orders led to a collapse in passenger numbers. Social distancing measures have also limited the number of passengers that each vehicle can carry.

Bosses had said on Friday it was in discussions with the government about an extension to support measures.

The Department for Transport wrote to TfL on Thursday to propose a short-term extension of an emergency funding deal agreed last year. TfL was seeking almost double the size of last year's bailout.

The Department for Transport last year agreed a £1.8bn bailout for TfL to help compensate for a collapse in passenger numbers during the pandemic. The funding deal was due to elapse at the end of this month.

It has said that before the coronavirus pandemic, the network was on the path to achieving a level of financial self-sufficiency "almost unheard of" for transport authorities around the world. But the pandemic has massively impacted finances and significantly reduced fares revenue.

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A TfL spokesperson said: "We have today agreed with the government that our funding will be extended until 18 May on the same terms that have applied to our funding for the second half of 2020/21.

“We continue discussions with the government on our need for further financial support and a long-term capital funding deal. This is vital for us to support a strong and robust recovery from the pandemic and to provide confidence to our UK-wide supply chain.”

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