'Hamstrung' TfL may not deliver Khan's transport priorities


A hard-hitting report says the funding to support capital investment in London’s transport network is at risk while the mayor’s fares freeze has left Transport for London (TfL) ‘hamstrung’.

The warnings come in an analysis of TfL’s ‘financial challenges’ from the London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee.

Mr Khan campaigning on a bus prior to his election

The report says whoever had been elected as London mayor in May would have been faced with a major financial challenge at TfL, which had just published a business plan based on £2.8bn less revenue funding than in its 2014 plan.

On top of this, Sadiq Khan’s commitment to freeze fares – whose cost is agreed to be £640m – has ‘made TfL’s financial position even more strained’.

The report says major capital investment in the transport network is needed to keep London moving as its population grows but the funding to support this ‘is now at risk’, with Government funding falling faster than TfL had previously expected.

In a foreword to the report, committee chair and Conservative assembly member Gareth Bacon said: ‘Perhaps unsurprisingly, TfL hasn’t worked out a solution yet. But some of what we heard hasn’t exactly filled us with confidence.’

Mr Bacon said that while TfL says it has plans to save money through better procurement, ‘it could not give us any examples of current contracts that are not delivering value for money’.

The transport body’s hopes to generate more commercial income, ‘could be at odds with the Mayor’s desire to build more affordable housing on TfL land’, Mr Bacon said.

He added: ‘And TfL is undergoing a “root and branch” review long before the Mayor publishes his Transport Strategy: will TfL be able to deliver the Mayor’s transport priorities?’

Mr Bacon said the situation was ‘obviously not all doom and gloom’, with the fares freeze and new bus ‘hopper ticket’ benefiting millions of passengers and TfL still expanding and improving the transport network.

Uncertainty and arbitrary figures

The report says TfL’s financial situation became more uncertain when the UK voted to leave the EU but it ‘appears to have no plans about how it will manage any loss of funding, research, or staff from the EU’.

It says Mr Khan’s announcement on the savings to fund the first two years of the fares freeze ‘contained a number of arbitrary figures and are currently unsupported by any firm delivery plans’.

The report also casts doubt on TfL’s other proposals to increase its income, warning that fares growth cannot be taken for granted, particularly as TfL is ‘hamstrung’ by the mayor’s promise to freeze fares and protect the existing concessionary fares structure, and that there is no guarantee that his plan to create a new trading arm will be profitable.

Committee members say they are ‘particularly concerned’ at the risks to TfL’s capital investment programme, which is ‘inextricably linked’ to cuts to TfL’s revenue funding. They warn that delays to capital projects are likely to have a negative effect on fares income, while capital projects may have to be scaled back, delayed or cancelled if TfL cannot meet its funding gap.

The report also warns that ‘financial constraints also apply to any ambition the Mayor and TfL might have to take over suburban rail services’.

A TfL spokesperson said: ‘We welcome the Committee's report and will set out our finances later this year in a revised Business Plan which will deliver all of the mayor's commitments to London.’


Also see

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Project Engineer (Permanent)

Havant Borough Council
We’re looking for an experienced and enthusiastic engineer to join our well-regarded design and implementation team. Havant, Hampshire
Recuriter: Havant Borough Council

Project Engineer (Fixed Term)

Havant Borough Council
We’re looking for an experienced and enthusiastic engineer to join our well-regarded design and implementation team. Havant, Hampshire
Recuriter: Havant Borough Council

Contract Supervisor

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£31,013 - £36,486 depending on skills, knowledge and experience
The role of Contract Supervisor (Waste and Street Cleansing) will require you to support ambitious plans to provide services for residents Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Flood Risk Manager

Birmingham City Council
£43,662 - £54,574
The role requires the post holder to be the lead professional for the Authority’s Flood Risk Management and drainage function Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Head of Highways & Transport

Lewisham London Borough Council
up to £72,705
As our lead expert on highways and transport, you will set the direction and lead on all transport related matters Lewisham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lewisham London Borough Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director

Hounslow London Borough Council
Up to £82k
Working across a wide range of high profile direct services, the emphasis for this role is on partnership working. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Head of Parks and Environmental Services

Harrogate Borough Council
£58,778 - £61,882
You will have experience at a senior level in the management and delivery of front line services relevant to the functions Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: Harrogate Borough Council

Programme Technician/Engineer

Norfolk County Council
£29,636 - £31,371 per annum
This is a challenging position which involves working across wide ranging activities. Norwich, Norfolk
Recuriter: Norfolk County Council

Principal Transport Planner – 2 posts (Warrington Waterfront Western Link)

Warrington Borough Council
£40,760 - £43,662 plus essential car user allowance
We are looking to form a new Warrington Waterfront Western Link Team and we are looking to fill a number of key posts Warrington, Cheshire
Recuriter: Warrington Borough Council

Director of Integrated Transport

Liverpool City Region
Salary up to £124,848
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is embarking on a search for an exceptional individual with the passion to deliver on our vision Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region

Highways Manager

Oxford Direct Services
Oxford Direct Services
Recuriter: Oxford Direct Services

Data Entry Administrator

Telford & Wrekin Council
£18,795 - £19,171
Telford & Wrekin’s Public Protection Service is looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated Data Entry Administrator Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Transport Planner

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 to £38,423
You’ll have previous experience of working in a transport/planning/accessible transport environment Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Parking Business Administrator Level 3 Apprenticeship

Brent Council
£15,000 p.a. inc.
This role will support the Brent Parking Team work to provide administrative support for both the Notice Processing Team Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Principal Engineer (Development)

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
Liverpool City Council wish to recruit a Principal Engineer (Development) to provide managerial and technical support. Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Traffic Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
We are looking to recruit a Traffic Manager to join our Highways team Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Team Leader x2 - Passenger Transport

Redbridge London Borough Council
£27,228 - £28,215 per annum
You will be responsible for overseeing the duties of Passenger Transport drivers as well as providing support to the service and managers. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council

UTMC Engineer

Warrington Borough Council
£31,371 - £34,788
You will support the UTMC Principal Engineer and work as part of a team responsible for all aspects of Urban Traffic Management and Control Warrington, Cheshire
Recuriter: Warrington Borough Council

Programme Assurance Manager Public Realm

Westminster City Council
£46,293 - £49,203 per annum
A graduate, or have equivalent experience, and you can show evidence of continued professional, managerial and personal development... City of Westminster, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Westminster City Council