Ministers have agreed to extend Transport for London’s (TfL) emergency funding for a further two weeks amid claims that they are pressing City Hall to extend the Congestion Charge and cut back on concessionary travel.
The transport authority has seen the fare revenue on which it is highly dependent slump as a result of falling passenger numbers during the pandemic.
A previous package of funding was due to expire on Saturday (19 October) but will now run until the end of the month.
TfL’s drop in revenues is likely to be made worse by the decision to place the capital in Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions. Government advice is that ‘office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter’.
A TfL spokesperson said: 'We continue to discuss our funding requirements with the Government and hope these discussions can be concluded successfully soon, so we can help London through the next phase of the pandemic.
'We have agreed with the Government that our funding will be extended for two weeks so that these constructive discussions can be concluded.'
Speaking at TfL’s finance committee, deputy mayor Heidi Alexander claimed that ministers were pressing for the removal of some concessionary travel and the extension of the Congestion Charge to the suburbs.
She said: ‘We can’t see why we should take free travel away from under 18s or over 60s when lots of people in London are actually facing some genuine hardship over the coming months.’
Ms Alexander added that ‘it cannot be right' to charge motorists £15 to drive a mile between suburbs on either side of an extended zone.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘These discussions will ensure London has a safe, reliable network. It would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.’