Plan B “will inevitably impact” transport, according to stakeholders

Thursday 09 December 2021 12:29

Plan B will have an “inevitable impact” on Transport for London and the rail operators.

The new set of restrictions outlined by the government yesterday will have “an inevitable impact” on Transport for London (TfL) as more Londoners will have to work from home.

Nick Bowes, chief executive of the Center for London think tank, said passenger numbers had already started to drop since the new variant appeared, “as people change behavior and cautious employers are advising those who do. can work from home “.

According to TfL data, bus demand fell 5.8%, from 5.1 million registered travelers on Friday, November 26, to 4.8 million a week later.

“Any tightening of restrictions will inevitably have an impact on Transport for London’s fare revenues, further exacerbating the already large hole in TfL’s budget caused by the pandemic,” Bowes said.

“With so many uncertainties over how long the pandemic will last, the government and TfL urgently need to agree on an 18-month funding agreement, so that the buses and tubes continue to operate beyond the expiration of the current funding this Saturday. “

Even though the government’s bailout funding is due to expire in two days, TfL and the government are still at odds. Yesterday, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, hit back at claims he needs to ‘get real’ about TfL’s funding crisis and said: ‘If TfL is forced to drastically cut services it will jeopardize the economic recovery of our city. “

Khan’s comments came after London Minister Paul Scully said there was “no basis” for Khan’s claims that several bus and tube services could be at risk due to the crisis in current funding from Transport for London (TfL), City AM reported.

Not only will Plan B have an impact on the transport sector, it could have a negative effect on passengers and their finances, reported independent watchdog Transport Focus.

“Passengers will wonder what impact this will have on the bus, train and tram journeys they have to make,” said David Sidebottom, director of Transport Focus. “If they have pre-purchased a ticket, will they be able to exchange it?” We look to transport operators to ensure that accurate and timely information is available both online and offline. “

Despite the uncertainty, stakeholders such as the Railway Industry Association (RIA) have said they “will continue to intervene”.

“As with past pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, the rail industry will continue to support the UK, its economy and its connectivity,” said RIA chief executive Darren Caplan.

“Over the past two years, the rail supply industry has helped maintain rail services for passengers and freight users, and has supported the economy by carrying out infrastructure projects and upgrades to railways. trains, across the UK.

The railways, united under the Rail Delivery Group banner, also reassured passengers that “with improved cleaning and ventilation that freshens the air in the cars every six minutes to nine minutes on eight of our 10 trains, they can travel with confidence. . “

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