London: Bakerloo line fears ‘could close’ as Sadiq Khan warns TfL needs billions of dollars

The Bakerloo line still operates with some trains from the 1970s (Image: Getty Images Europe)

The Mayor of London has doubled down on his threat to shut down the entire Underground line unless Transport for London gets more funding from the Government.

Sadiq Khan has also warned services could become depleted and ‘reminiscent of the 1970s and 80s’ as he tries to raise money to help cope with the costs of Covid.

According to reports, the chain most likely to close is Bakerloo, although there are plans for an extension.

Traveling through West London, trains now connect Elephants and Castles with Harrow and Wealdstone and a southward extension to Lewisham has long been on the card.

The operation has been halted indefinitely due to the cash crunch engulfing TfL, whose passenger volume has dropped by 95% due to the pandemic.

Without directly naming Bakerloo, Mr Khan used a Central London conference speech to warn a line could have to close to cover a £1.7 billion shortfall.

He said it was ‘no exaggeration’ that TfL services would be forced into a ‘managed decline’ – affecting not only the Metro but also buses and roads.

He added: ‘If the Government continues to lack TfL funding, bus service will have to be cut by almost a fifth and Metro service will need to be cut by almost 10 per cent.

Sadiq Khan has warned a pipeline may have to close in response to the funding crisis (Image: PA)

‘In practice this could mean more than 100 bus lines being withdrawn and less frequent Underground schedules on some lines and branches. TfL is even looking at the possibility of shutting down the entire pipeline to achieve the savings it might need. ‘

TfL has been granted £4 billion in emergency funding during the pandemic but its current sponsorship deal ends on December 11.

Mr Khan asserted the network was on track to generate a surplus before Covid and had been hit particularly hard as it had to increase fare income by 72 per cent, almost double that of comparable transport networks in Paris. and New York.

He wants £500 million in Government funding through the end of this financial year and £1.2 billion by 2022/23.

TfL has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic (Image: PA)

Many have predicted that TfL passenger numbers will never return to pre-pandemic levels because working from home has become so ingrained in many people’s lives.

Plans to upgrade trains, electrify buses and other maintenance projects had to be scrapped as funding for them ran out.

Bakerloo still uses trains from the 1970s, one of the oldest in the country and only the ninth most popular, carrying 110 million passengers a year.

Much of its route is covered by other routes, which could make it a prime target for cuts.

Tube upgrade projects have been halted or canceled due to funding crunch (Image: Getty Images)

Earlier, the Government accused the Labor Mayor of being ‘disruptive’ by threatening to cut services.

Asked about Mr Khan’s most recent comments, a spokesman said: ‘We have repeatedly demonstrated our commitment to support Londontransport network of the pandemic, providing more than £4 billion in emergency funding for Transport for London.

‘We will continue to discuss any further funding requirements with TfL and the Mayor, and any support provided will focus on getting TfL back into sustainable finance in a fair manner. to taxpayers nationwide.’

TfL has not denied reports that the Bakerloo line was one of the lines encouraged to close when requested by

Instead, it introduces us to its previous statement on funding negotiations.

This said: ‘The UK’s recovery from the pandemic depends on London’s recovery and that needs a properly funded transport network in the capital. We look forward to working with the Government to secure the recovery and agree a longer-term funding arrangement as we work towards achieving financial sustainability by April 2023.

‘Our current short-term funding agreement expires on 11 December and we must plan for a range of potential outcomes beyond that as outlined at the recent Finance Committee of we.’

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Huynh Nguyen

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