Subsidy for TfL bus services is £600m a year!

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aformeruser

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Leon Daniels (Managing Director said:
the bus network in London runs at a deficit currently of about £600 million a year. That is the difference
between the revenue received and the cost of the operation. The reason for that deficit is that successive
Mayors have had as a matter of policy to have a comprehensive bus service running across the network across
Greater London to and from places just over the boundary, where everybody should be within 400 metres of
their nearest bus stop, to run that service all day - and, if possible, all night where there is demand - and to do
so at a cheap fare. Successive Mayors have in one form or another had this as a policy because they believe
that this provides mobility for all members of society, people going to and from work, going to and from school
and further education and people looking for work. I am reminded that more than half the passengers on our
night bus network are travelling to or from work. The price of that, of course, is that a combination of
affordable fares and a comprehensive service means that it runs at a deficit.

https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov...day 11-Jan-2017 10.00 Transport Commi.pdf?T=9

In prospective the budget for all the 'Northern Hub' rail improvements including electrification is £600m and that's being spent over a few years, not all in one year.
 
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overthewater

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Is there any to cur the deficit in any shape or form? If we can cut 10milllion its a start and then work its way to getting it down to £300m?
 

aformeruser

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What is the subsidy per passenger mile?

DfT figures for average subsidy per passenger journey (2014/2015):
London - 23.5p
English metropolitan areas - 12.1p
English non-metropolitan areas - 15.0p

TfL figures for average journey length in km:
Passengers travelling totally with Zone 1 - 1.9
Passengers between Zone 1 and other zones - 5.7
Passengers travelling totally outside zone 1 - 3.3
 
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sk688

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To be fair bus use in London is huge, where else are there over 700 routes

Despite the subsidiary, most operators are still awful. In my neck of the woods, Metroline and arriva have dirty, often late buses ( Metroline are improving hugely though)

Plus all the NB4Ls are expensive

I still don't understand why bojo got rid of the bendy buses. Loved travelling on them, as I grew up travelling on them
 

edwin_m

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The bus service in inner London was upped significantly at the time of the congestion charge. With the length of time it takes to plan and build a Tube line this was the only way of increasing capacity to accommodate people no longer driving in the charging area. As well as providing the funds to pay for it the charge would clear the roads so the buses were faster, making them relatively speaking cheaper to operate as well as more attractive to passengers.

At least that was the theory - people with more knowledge may wish to comment on how well it worked. My recent experience within the charging area is that crossing it by bus is a good way to while away the time if your advance ticket is an hour or more ahead, with a nice view from a top deck that is often nearly empty. But keep any eye on the time and be prepared to bale onto the Tube if the bus is taking even longer than usual!

If buses in the inner area are to be truly useful my view is that there will have to be some more aggressive bus priority including tackling the tricky task of limiting the numbers and freedom of taxis and private hires. I can't speak for outer London as I'm a very infrequent user of buses there.
 

Busaholic

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The bus service in inner London was upped significantly at the time of the congestion charge. With the length of time it takes to plan and build a Tube line this was the only way of increasing capacity to accommodate people no longer driving in the charging area. As well as providing the funds to pay for it the charge would clear the roads so the buses were faster, making them relatively speaking cheaper to operate as well as more attractive to passengers.

At least that was the theory - people with more knowledge may wish to comment on how well it worked. My recent experience within the charging area is that crossing it by bus is a good way to while away the time if your advance ticket is an hour or more ahead, with a nice view from a top deck that is often nearly empty. But keep any eye on the time and be prepared to bale onto the Tube if the bus is taking even longer than usual!

If buses in the inner area are to be truly useful my view is that there will have to be some more aggressive bus priority including tackling the tricky task of limiting the numbers and freedom of taxis and private hires. I can't speak for outer London as I'm a very infrequent user of buses there.

The weekday daytime congestion charge certainly made quite a difference to the bus experience in Central London for its first few years, especially when it was extended to Kensington and Chelsea. Boris Johnson as Mayor made the political decision to scrap the charge in K&C, shortly followed by a further decision to increase the road space available to cyclists on key routes, resulting in decreased space for all other road transport including buses. As well as the Cycle Superhighways works were instigated at other major traffic intersections, notably Aldgate and Elephant, to reverse the decades-old one-way traffic systems and reintroduce two-way traffic to most sections of road. The overall result is that, on independent calculations, road space for vehicles other than bicycles has decreased by 20% over the last decade in Zone 1. When you add in the explosion of van traffic delivering goods ordered online to offices and collection points, and allowing for the succession of stops such vehicles have to make, the average bus speed declines year on year, with the decline accelerating over the last couple of years. Bus passenger numbers are falling, although there are some outer London areas which are bucking the trend, and certainly in central/inner London many people with a choice are deserting the bus. Pity the poor South London traveller whose only alternative to the bus is the trains occasionally supplied by Southern/Thameslink!
 

Abpj17

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- The population of London is huge. Northern England population is around 15mn. Population of Greater London is 9mn, and swells enormously during the day with workers.
- It’s difficult to see any part of the London network in isolation from the rest. Although the divide is greater in London than in many other capitals - tubes, buses, trams and overground are all under the same umbrella.
- The cost of supporting the bus network in parts of London is invariably cheaper than extended the tube as comprehensively.
- Buses are the primary form of public transport in some of the poorest parts of London
- Buses are pretty essential to support a lot of journeys to work (and cheaper than the tube). The provision of a decent 24/7 bus network on key routes makes work a vaguely profitable and credible alternative to unemployment and benefits.
 

HSTEd

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£600m per annum is not that much considering Greater London approaches something like a sixth of the entire national population, especially during working periods. The only alternative would be to build the underground up to Paris Metro levels of station density - which is obviously impractical. Or the ressurection of every one of the London tram proposals.

I wish we could have such high levels of subsidies elsewhere - hell in some places we would be better of just abolishing bus fares entirely.
More than half of non-London English bus operator income already derives from the state thanks to OAP and other passes and various subsidies.

Why not go the whole hog and remove the entire bus fare bureaucracy and infrastructure?
 
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philthetube

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DfT figures for average subsidy per passenger journey (2014/2015):
London - 23.5p
English metropolitan areas - 12.1p
English non-metropolitan areas - 15.0p

TfL figures for average journey length in km:
Passengers travelling totally with Zone 1 - 1.9
Passengers between Zone 1 and other zones - 5.7
Passengers travelling totally outside zone 1 - 3.3

I may be wrong but I cannot see how these figures compare like with like.

TFL figures probably cover all journeys
Metropolitan areas probably vary according to area
Non metropolitan areas almost certainly only cover subsidised routes and the vast majority of services are on commercial routes so if all journeys were counted subsidy is probably fractions of pennies per mile.

I am happy to be corrected.
 

aformeruser

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- The population of London is huge. Northern England population is around 15mn. Population of Greater London is 9mn, and swells enormously during the day with workers.

Actually 8.5m for Greater London.

- The cost of supporting the bus network in parts of London is invariably cheaper than extended the tube as comprehensively.
- Buses are the primary form of public transport in some of the poorest parts of London
- Buses are pretty essential to support a lot of journeys to work (and cheaper than the tube). The provision of a decent 24/7 bus network on key routes makes work a vaguely profitable and credible alternative to unemployment and benefits.

Many of the advantages of having cheap, frequent bus services in London would also apply to other towns and cities as well. However, in other towns and cities it's a case of bus routes receive no subsidy unless they aren't commercially viable and the local authority decides there's a need for the bus service.
 

aformeruser

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I may be wrong but I cannot see how these figures compare like with like.

TFL figures probably cover all journeys
Metropolitan areas probably vary according to area
Non metropolitan areas almost certainly only cover subsidised routes and the vast majority of services are on commercial routes so if all journeys were counted subsidy is probably fractions of pennies per mile.

I am happy to be corrected.

naja asked for a subsidy per passenger mile. There appears to be no such data available so I provided the data which is available.

You've misunderstood how the DfT figures work. DfT include the commercial routes as a 0p per passenger journey subsidy so if a town had route A and B which both had the same number of journeys per week and A is commercial and B gets a subsidy of 30p per passenger mile then using DfT's method the average subsidy for both routes would be 15p per passenger mile.
 

aformeruser

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£600m per annum is not that much considering Greater London approaches something like a sixth of the entire national population, especially during working periods.

Question is do bus services need such a hefty subsidy? Elsewhere in the country PTE subsides for rail fares have been slashed while TfL's subsidies are getting out-of-control.

I know people who go to London during the week for business but live in other parts of the country and they only seem to use the Pendolinos in to London and the LU, even if they have to walk further than using the bus or change underground lines when they can get a direct bus. The network map for the LU is nice and simple and every train stops at every station on the map, while the bus network is more complex and stops are only served on request it's not surprising that many non-locals never use them.
 

sk688

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Question is do bus services need such a hefty subsidy? Elsewhere in the country PTE subsides for rail fares have been slashed while TfL's subsidies are getting out-of-control.

I know people who go to London during the week for business but live in other parts of the country and they only seem to use the Pendolinos in to London and the LU, even if they have to walk further than using the bus or change underground lines when they can get a direct bus. The network map for the LU is nice and simple and every train stops at every station on the map, while the bus network is more complex and stops are only served on request it's not surprising that many non-locals never use them.

Yes , but in Outer London the tube isnt that great ( especially in South and East London ) principially due to a lack of lines . The Tube is also unhelpful if youre trying to get across Outer London , as most of the times you have to take the Tube into Central , and back out . The cross London bus services in Outer London are useful ,such as the 140 , ( the former 83 ) and X26 X68 (albeit expensive ) and im guessing a large part of the subsidy goes into operating the cross outer London routes

Also , some routes are expensive to run , and may have a low patronage , but if they are the only bus service of the area they need to run ( and they are expensive ) , like the 389/399 in Barnet .

Finally , Tfl splashed out millions on the new Routemaster buses ( necessary or not ) and thus now need a higher subsidy to recover the cost , especially as they dont make any profits

Plus its probably pretty expensive cleaning the buses , which are used really intensively , as well as frequent attacks on buses ( that knifeman on the 149 in Hackney last week comes to mind )
 
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aformeruser

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Yes , but in Outer London the tube isnt that great ( especially in South and East London ) principially due to a lack of lines . The Tube is also unhelpful if youre trying to get across Outer London , as most of the times you have to take the Tube into Central , and back out . The cross London bus services in Outer London are useful ,such as the 140 , ( the former 83 ) and X26 X68 (albeit expensive ) and im guessing a large part of the subsidy goes into operating the cross outer London routes

The point about the tube was in response to someone saying that a lot of people from outside the area come to London and use the public transport. I doubt many businesses have their head office in Greater London in a location which is only served by an infrequent bus or that there's any major tourist attractions in those locations.

Of course the areas where the bus is the only public transport and a bus service may not be profitable are precisely the bus routes they should be subsiding.
 

AM9

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£600m per annum is not that much considering Greater London approaches something like a sixth of the entire national population, especially during working periods. The only alternative would be to build the underground up to Paris Metro levels of station density - which is obviously impractical. Or the ressurection of every one of the London tram proposals.

I wish we could have such high levels of subsidies elsewhere - hell in some places we would be better of just abolishing bus fares entirely.
More than half of non-London English bus operator income already derives from the state thanks to OAP and other passes and various subsidies.

Why not go the whole hog and remove the entire bus fare bureaucracy and infrastructure?

Let's not forget the reason. for providing an effective transport system, whether wholly or partly funded from the public purse.
London contributed over £600billion to the UK GDP IN 2016. That's 22% of the total of £2.757trillion. So the total bus subsidy is less than 0.01% its GDP contribution, from a hard-nosed economic viewpoint, is a price worth paying. The alternative would probably be gridlock as many took to their cars. London doesn't even have the high capacity road system that many regional centres do so the UK can't really risk the capital's cash contribution for the sake of such a relatively small sum.
 

aformeruser

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Let's not forget the reason. for providing an effective transport system, whether wholly or partly funded from the public purse.
London contributed over £600billion to the UK GDP IN 2016. That's 22% of the total of £2.757trillion. So the total bus subsidy is less than 0.01% its GDP contribution, from a hard-nosed economic viewpoint, is a price worth paying. The alternative would probably be gridlock as many took to their cars. London doesn't even have the high capacity road system that many regional centres do so the UK can't really risk the capital's cash contribution for the sake of such a relatively small sum.

Any source for your £600bn claim? A report from the Greater London Authority written in Feb 2016 gives a figure of £364bn: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/gla_the_london_economy_report_full_low_res.pdf which is around 25% higher than the North of England:

London dominates the UK’s image abroad. No English city is even a quarter of the capital’s size. Yet if it were a single entity, the north of England’s economy — worth £304bn — would rank as the EU’s 10th-largest.
https://www.ft.com/content/d4bcaaba-dbbe-11e5-98fd-06d75973fe09

You could argue up here many of the cross-Pennine road routes aren't accessible 365 days a year meaning cross-Pennine rail routes are imperative to the North's economy.
 

philthetube

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naja asked for a subsidy per passenger mile. There appears to be no such data available so I provided the data which is available.

You've misunderstood how the DfT figures work. DfT include the commercial routes as a 0p per passenger journey subsidy so if a town had route A and B which both had the same number of journeys per week and A is commercial and B gets a subsidy of 30p per passenger mile then using DfT's method the average subsidy for both routes would be 15p per passenger mile.

I don't think I have misunderstood, As I understand it the TFL subsidises all routes so therefore their figure is huge compared with other areas where only a small proportion of routes are subsidised.
 

aformeruser

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I don't think I have misunderstood, As I understand it the TFL subsidises all routes so therefore their figure is huge compared with other areas where only a small proportion of routes are subsidised.

Which means the figures are comparable. If they were only comparing subsided routes then it would be misleading as many routes outside of Greater London don't get subsides.
 

radamfi

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In world cities, it is normal for city transport to be subsidised by 50% or even more. City transport subsidy levels are normally quoted across all modes of transport run by the city transport authority.

Given that the London Underground covers its operating costs, city transport in London is therefore subsidised at particularly low levels by international standards. Other than trips made solely by bus/tram, London's fares are among the highest in the world.
 

aformeruser

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In world cities, it is normal for city transport to be subsidised by 50% or even more. City transport subsidy levels are normally quoted across all modes of transport run by the city transport authority.

Many capital cities have seen significant cuts to their subsides in recent years with fares rising by 50% not being uncommon, while London's gone in the opposite direction when 10 years ago local public transport was very expensive compared to other capital cities.
 

radamfi

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Many capital cities have seen significant cuts to their subsides in recent years with fares rising by 50% not being uncommon, while London's gone in the opposite direction when 10 years ago local public transport was very expensive compared to other capital cities.

Peak single fares in London:

Zone 1-2 Tube only £2.90
Zone 1-2 Tube plus bus at one end £4.40

Can't think of a capital city more expensive than that.
 

aformeruser

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Peak single fares in London:

Zone 1-2 Tube only £2.90
Zone 1-2 Tube plus bus at one end £4.40

Can't think of a capital city more expensive than that.

Copenhagen has the highest average price of a single ticket on a bus, tram or subway, costing £3.25. The second most expensive city is Stockholm, where a single ticket costs £2.93, followed by London, where a ticket costs £2.83.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...e-public-transport-in-the-world-a6958291.html

Although, I'd question the findings of that article as it's not specifically for capital cities (Geneva is mentioned.) However, they not included Munich where the cost of a zone 1-2 single is equivalent to £4.75 at today's exchange rate, while a single ticket for all zones in Munich costs £9.49 at today's exchange rate and there's no off-peak discounts, making it a lot more expensive than London.
 
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radamfi

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Copenhagen 2-zone single is 15 DKK using a smartcard, 24 DKK on paper.
Stockholm flat fare is 30 SEK.
Geneva flat fare is 3 CHF.

All cheaper than £2.90, never mind £4.40.
 

aformeruser

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Copenhagen 2-zone single is 15 DKK using a smartcard, 24 DKK on paper.
Stockholm flat fare is 30 SEK.
Geneva flat fare is 3 CHF.

All cheaper than £2.90, never mind £4.40.

You missed the point I was making about Geneva. It wasn't that they claimed it was more expensive than London, it was that they included it in their top 10 despite not being a capital city yet ignored Munich which is more expensive.

Do Copenhagen and Stockholm have off-peak fares? If not then that'll be how the average fare is higher.
 

radamfi

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Berne is 4.60 CHF for 1-2 zones, but only 2.80 CHF with a Half Fare Card. Obviously the cost of living in Switzerland is astronomical so that needs to be taken into account.
 

aformeruser

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Berne is 4.60 CHF for 1-2 zones, but only 2.80 CHF with a Half Fare Card. Obviously the cost of living in Switzerland is astronomical so that needs to be taken into account.

The average salary and living costs of someone living in London are substantially higher than of people living elsewhere in the UK so does that also need to be taken in to account? Should a £1.50 bus fare in London be seen as equivalent to a £1 bus fare in Sunderland?
 

radamfi

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The average salary and living costs of someone living in London are substantially higher than of people living elsewhere in the UK so does that also need to be taken in to account? Should a £1.50 bus fare in London be seen as equivalent to a £1 bus fare in Sunderland?

You can certainly make a case for transport to cost more in London due to the higher cost of living but it is more relevant when comparing internationally. Whilst housing is more expensive in London compared to the rest of the UK, high street shop prices are much the same. Whereas shop prices in Switzerland are more expensive than UK. There are obviously a lot of very high earners in London however, in general, the difference in pay for a "normal" job is more different between Switzerland and the UK than between London and the UK outside London.

On the other hand, if you are looking at the comparison with driving then petrol isn't really much cheaper outside London, indeed it can be a lot more expensive in rural areas, although parking will be more expensive and more scarce, prohibitively so in central London. Petrol is not as heavily taxed in Switzerland so may even be cheaper than the UK.
 
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