So at the moment it's speculation, however well informed, that DfT are going to extend EMA's for a considerable period?

I can believe that they are intending on doing so, because it's the least worst option, but the sums of money involved are terrifying. If, and it's an unquantifiable "if" at the moment, it's going to take 2 years* for passenger numbers to return to a level where DfT can stop making up the shortfall in income then that suggests the treasury will have had to find between 8 and 9 billion**.

I struggle with the notion of TOC's being able to significantly reduce their op ex, there may be fractions of percentage points to be had here and there but on the whole the TOC's themselves are pretty lean. Cap ex to be spent on non-urgent non-safety upgrades/modifications could be - and is being from what I, as a tier 1 supplier into TOC's, am seeing - stopped.

Maybe the DfT need to start casting their net wider and looking at the leasing companies and their charges and the TSSSA & TSP contracts the TOC's are having to pay and see what can be done to reduce those costs for the duration of the EMA's?

*The only real frame of reference the industry has for this scenario is post Hatfield and post the 2009 financial crash and both instances took 2 years, AFAIK, to get passenger numbers back to where they were.

** assumes a linear increase in passenger numbers over 26 performance periods