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Sadiq Khan: London transport still heading for a ‘managed decline’ with hundreds of bus lines and tube services reduced

The mayor of London has confirmed that Transport for London is still planning huge service cuts, if Conservative ministers do not provide long-term funding in a few weeks.

TfL bosses are desperate for a deal with central government to fund the cash-strapped public body, after passenger fares plummeted by nearly £ 4bn in 2020.

Speaking to MyLondon on Tuesday, Sadiq Khan, who chairs TfL, said the funding crunch “keeps me awake at night.”

Sadiq Khan speaking to MyLondon at a transport event in East London

He reiterated the warnings that TfL currently foresees of a ‘managed decline’ in London transport, saying: ‘Without stability and long-term funding we are talking about a 9% reduction in tube services, which equates to the closure of a metro line.

“And we’re looking at a reduction of almost 20% in bus services, which equates to 100 bus lines cut or 200 bus lines with less frequent service.

“I’m trying to make the government understand that it is foolish for them to do this… It is in the interest of other parts of the country that TfL is doing well.

“The government [is] holding a sword of Damocles over the financial future of TfL.

READ MORE: Everything London Could Lose If TfL Doesn’t Get Billions of Dollars in Funding

Mr Khan also suggested ministers were trying to sabotage TfL to make the Labor mayor look bad, telling MyLondon: “The government is cutting its nose to upset his face. There is no advantage.

“Last May, the government hoped that its short-term policies would lead people to change [to vote Tory] at the polls. They did not do it.

“They can hope that this will lead to better results at the polls in the municipal elections in May. It is short-termism and putting the political interests of parties ahead of national interests.

And he warned that a fifth “short-term” bailout next month would represent an attack on London transport. TfL’s current bailout only covers two months of lost tariff revenue.

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Mr Khan said: “It is vital that we solve this problem. London contributes around £ 40 billion annually to the national coffers. We can do this because our businesses have a very good transportation system. “

Ministers have added conditions to their bailouts – including forcing TfL to find £ 500million a year in cuts or additional income and revising pensions.

The mayor also defended his record on the transport strikes, after the RMT announced its intention to withdraw from pensions and cuts.

He said: “What we have seen since 2016 is that the number of strikes has decreased by at least 60 to 70%. We respect the unions and our staff and treat them well … I encourage the RMT to come back to the table. “

In a separate dispute, the RMT also pledged to shut down the Night Tube every weekend “at least” until June, as part of an ongoing dispute over rotations.

The mayor said: “All other unions are okay with the new Night Tube being run, I hope the RMT can get involved too soon rather than later.”

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