London’s bus and tube services could be severely disrupted without urgent Government investment because of a £1.9 billion funding gap, the Mayor of London has warned.

Sadiq Khan says bus services could be reduced by a fifth and tube services by almost 10% unless the Government steps in with an injection of funds.

It comes after a report to City Hall’s finance committee detailed worse-than-expected impacts on the transport network from the Covid-19 pandemic, and with Transport for London’s (TfL) emergency funding deal coming to a close next month.

Acas – London Underground strike talks
Tube services could be cut by nearly 10%, Mr Khan warns (Nick Ansell/PA)

“Transport for London is dealing with an unprecedented financial crisis caused by the pandemic,” Mr Khan said in a statement.

“We are now less than a month away from TfL’s emergency funding deal expiring on 11 December. Unless the Government provides the long-term funding needed to maintain our public transport network, there will be no choice but to make significant cuts to services just as demand is growing again.

“This would mean fewer, less frequent and more run-down bus and tube services for Londoners, making it more difficult to travel around the city.

“It would also mean more road and tunnel closures due to a lack of funding to maintain key transport infrastructure.

“The widespread disruption and gridlock all these changes would cause would not only unfairly punish millions of Londoners for the impact of the pandemic on TfL’s finances, but would put the national economic recovery at risk.”

The Labour mayor said while he supported the Government’s transport investments across the country for the cause of levelling up, this should not come at the cost of “levelling down London”.

“There can be no London recovery without a properly funded public transport network in the capital, and there can be no national recovery without a London recovery,” he said.

“Our city contributes £36.1 billion net to the Treasury each year. TfL contracts contribute around £7 billion to the UK economy, and its supply chain supports 43,000 jobs around the country, which could be at risk.

Cop26 – Glasgow
Sadiq Khan has called for urgent Government funding for London’s bus and tube network (Peter Summers/PA)

“If the Government fails to work with us to protect London’s transport network, the capital and the whole country will pay the price for decades to come.”

The TfL Finance Committee’s report to City Hall details reductions of more than £1 billion in annual running costs over the past five years but says more savings will be needed because of the projected £1.9 billion funding gap.

This would mean a move to a “managed decline” scenario, the report says, requiring at least an 18% reduction in bus services and a 9% cut to tube services.