Transport For London Bailout

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duncanp

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It has been reported that Transport for London has received another government bailout to help it keep services running whilst revenue is lower as a consequence of COVID-19.

I can understand the reasons for this, but yesterday I saw a advert on TV from Transport for London encouraging people to walk and cycle, with the rather meaningless slogan "Every Journey Matters".

Would anyone else care to comment on the irony of Transport for London encouraging people not to use its services, when passenger numbers on buses, trains, trams and the DLR are considerably lower than normal, and TfL needs all the revenue it can get.

I suppose if you can rely on the taxpayer to keep bailing you out, trying to maximise fare revenue is of secondary importance.
 
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SynthD

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That's why it's good that it's controlled by the Mayor, it fits in with their other duties. Keeping people apart and alive at the taxpayer's expense is the government's method in other areas of life and country.
 

Starmill

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Would anyone else care to comment on the irony of Transport for London encouraging people not to use its services, when passenger numbers on buses, trains, trams and the DLR are considerably lower than normal, and TfL needs all the revenue it can get.
TfL isn't a commercially driven firm, so it's not clear to me what you're suggesting . If it were run in an entirely private capacity, without public funding, I do have to wonder what the quality of the service would be like...
 

Wolfie

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It has been reported that Transport for London has received another government bailout to help it keep services running whilst revenue is lower as a consequence of COVID-19.

I can understand the reasons for this, but yesterday I saw a advert on TV from Transport for London encouraging people to walk and cycle, with the rather meaningless slogan "Every Journey Matters".

Would anyone else care to comment on the irony of Transport for London encouraging people not to use its services, when passenger numbers on buses, trains, trams and the DLR are considerably lower than normal, and TfL needs all the revenue it can get.

I suppose if you can rely on the taxpayer to keep bailing you out, trying to maximise fare revenue is of secondary importance.
Hmmm... That rather reads as if written by a non-Londoner: "You guys carry on as normal and take the risk to save taxpayers money. Oh, but please use London-raised taxes to protect my local trains and buses as we're being told not to take the risk." Or "I don't believe there is a risk and don't care if you find out that l'm wrong."

I suggest that you read this excellent Ian Visits article, which points out how unfairly London is being treated compared with the rest of the country, and then cogitate the life expectancy of the last few London Tory MPs....



TfL isn't a commercially driven firm, so it's not clear to me what you're suggesting . If it were run in an entirely private capacity, without public funding, I do have to wonder what the quality of the service would be like...
Indeed. Either heaving or non-existant. Of course, without subsidies the rail network would have closed down much earlier.
 
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Mawkie

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It has been reported that Transport for London has received another government bailout to help it keep services running whilst revenue is lower as a consequence of COVID-19.

I can understand the reasons for this, but yesterday I saw a advert on TV from Transport for London encouraging people to walk and cycle, with the rather meaningless slogan "Every Journey Matters".

Would anyone else care to comment on the irony of Transport for London encouraging people not to use its services, when passenger numbers on buses, trains, trams and the DLR are considerably lower than normal, and TfL needs all the revenue it can get.

I suppose if you can rely on the taxpayer to keep bailing you out, trying to maximise fare revenue is of secondary importance.
Like all local authorities, TfL are legally required to reduce road traflfic use, so it makes sense that they promote alternative methods of transport, such as walking and cycling. Reducing car use also informs most of the Mayor's Transport Strategy, for example regarding residential development, managing out of centre retail land, and a Healthy Streets Approach to spatial planning.

I'm confused by your last paragraph regarding maximising fare revenue and taxpayers footing the bill - isn't this the exact model that the Transport Secretary just announced for the private Train Operating Companies?

As a slight aside, I'm regularly irritated when the word 'bailout' is used only in connection with TfL, but 'full funding', 'government assistance' or some other vague phrase is used for our private transport providers. If I recall correctly, the covid national rail subsidy is currently sitting at £4.5bn?
 
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Bletchleyite

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It's much more visible when given to one organisation than a load of private bus companies, I suppose. The railway "bailout" has been fairly visible.

It's also a political point against the Labour Mayor.
 

bramling

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It's much more visible when given to one organisation than a load of private bus companies, I suppose. The railway "bailout" has been fairly visible.

It's also a political point against the Labour Mayor.

This is the real reason - quite simply it’s political. And it’s this kind of silly political game-playing which really turns people off politics.

The trouble is TFL is a political organisation, that’s part of the reason it was created rather than simply being a continuation of LT.
 

Wolfie

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This is the real reason - quite simply it’s political. And it’s this kind of silly political game-playing which really turns people off politics.

The trouble is TFL is a political organisation, that’s part of the reason it was created rather than simply being a continuation of LT.
It's definitely political. The current flawed funding model for TfL was agreed by BoZo when he was Mayor of London. Khan has annihilated both of Boris' candidates subsequently.

All five groups on the GLA unanimously signed a request to HMG to end the anomaly where maintenance of Red Routes in London is funded by TfL (and thus public transport fares revenue) while over £500M raised in London in Vehicle Excuse Duty is spent elsewhere.

London is a net contributor to HMT to the tune of £39Bn per year yet still gets asked for more. Frankly if independence was a choice l would vote for it!

 

Starmill

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also a political point against the Labour Mayor.
Indeed. The Secretary of State is using public money and significant civil service staff time in order to berate and attempt to humiliate an office holder in another part of government - purely because they're a political opponent who has won a big victory. The Mayors of Teesside and Birmingham are treated in the opposite manner. If there's a concern about sensible use of public funding then this is mine, albeit not an enormous part of DfT's budget.
 

Bletchleyite

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This is the real reason - quite simply it’s political. And it’s this kind of silly political game-playing which really turns people off politics.

The trouble is TFL is a political organisation, that’s part of the reason it was created rather than simply being a continuation of LT.

Indeed, it's pretty much the only significant purview of the Mayor.

I do support regional transport authorities but in many ways they work better as a QuANGO*, being set a budget and a high level brief by politicians and then left to get on with it, run by transport experts.

* Quasi-Autonomous Non Governmental Organisation - something like GMPTA/GMPTE is one, or indeed LT as it was, or BR.
 

duncanp

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Hmmm... That rather reads as if written by a non-Londoner: "You guys carry on as normal and take the risk to save taxpayers money. Oh, but please use London-raised taxes to protect my local trains and buses as we're being told not to take the risk." Or "I don't believe there is a risk and don't care if you find out that l'm wrong."

I suggest that you read this excellent Ian Visits article, which points out how unfairly London is being treated compared with the rest of the country, and then cogitate the life expectancy of the last few London Tory MPs....




Indeed. Either heaving or non-existant. Of course, without subsidies the rail network would have closed down much earlier.

To be clear, I am not objecting to the bailout for Transport for London.

Every transport operator has been affected by COVID-19, and there have been bailouts for Manchester Metrolink, West Midlands Metro, Tyne & Wear Metro, amongst others.

I was commenting on the irony of an advertising campaign by TfL which encourages people not to use TfL services, at a time when TfL needs all the fares revenue it can get.
 

321over360

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I assume the peaks are light, but when i travelled on the Central Line to stratford late morning the other day, it seemed to have the near on similar levels of passengers there would be pre-pandemic so i dont know whether the passenger flow has lowered, London buses round where i live always seem pandemic full during the week and weekend so people are using London Transport
 

bramling

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I assume the peaks are light, but when i travelled on the Central Line to stratford late morning the other day, it seemed to have the near on similar levels of passengers there would be pre-pandemic so i dont know whether the passenger flow has lowered, London buses round where i live always seem pandemic full during the week and weekend so people are using London Transport

Yes this is right. Last weekend was pretty busy, plenty of trains with large amounts of standing (though there were quite a few extended intervals due to cancellations which will have exacerbated this). Likewise off-peak has been busy this week with it being half term.

But, the flip side of the coin, 1730 yesterday Northern Line from Bank to Clapham, 3 people in car, when would normally be crush-loaded.

As a country we do seem to have got our priorities wrong when the most important thing seems to be a picnic at the park rather than getting the masses back to work.
 

321over360

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Yes this is right. Last weekend was pretty busy, plenty of trains with large amounts of standing (though there were quite a few extended intervals due to cancellations which will have exacerbated this). Likewise off-peak has been busy this week with it being half term.

But, the flip side of the coin, 1730 yesterday Northern Line from Bank to Clapham, 3 people in car, when would normally be crush-loaded.

As a country we do seem to have got our priorities wrong when the most important thing seems to be a picnic at the park rather than getting the masses back to work.
who would want to sit in an office rather then catching some vitamin D in a park, i think the pandemic has shifted behaviours more and will continue to do so, as those who have managed to work from home will likely remain working from home, as what is the point in a company renting several floors in an office building in central london for say 100+ staff when they can save a huge chunk on rent and have a tiny office with several PC servers attached to it, with the staff working from the comfort of their homes, so i doubt Peak Hour travel will ever return to pre-pandemic levels, off peak travel has returned to normal loadings, which may mean to encourage leisure commutter to adjust their travels more, they may have to scrap the Peak Fares and just have Off Peak fares 24/7 as if the commuters arent commuting anymore, transport operators will need to entice people to travel on transport again during the old Peak times
 

Tube driver

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I think quite a few will return. Maybe not all but eventually a sizeable percentage and only when all restrictions are lifted especially social distancing.

Not everyone is geared up for home working. Yes, you may have a dedicated office at home but many do not. How many are still working from the kitchen table with kids running around demanding attention? How many are in flat shares where the only private working space is the end of your bed? What about employer confidentiality? What about new and young members of staff who need coaching and mentoring to get the best out of them? You can’t do everything via Zoom and there’s a awful lot I reckon that are simply sick of being stuck at home where the lines between the office and home are increasingly blurred and yearn for the office environment. Plus there’s a lot of old fashioned employers who want to see their staff working and, for a lot of firms, being seen to do a good job is more important than simply doing a good job if you want to advance your career. Presenteeism is still a big thing in certain sectors like law and banking.

The peak has changed at the moment. It’s now more 6-8am rather than 7-9am (I don’t really do lates unless there’s a gun to my head so I can’t comment on the evening rush) and during those times it is very busy and the last weekend was positively mental with leisure users.

It will take time. I don’t think we’ll see a full return until next year but they will come back. Maybe not 100% but pretty well near it in my uneducated opinion.
 

James H

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I was commenting on the irony of an advertising campaign by TfL which encourages people not to use TfL services, at a time when TfL needs all the fares revenue it can get.
Walking and cycling ('active travel') in London is just as much part of TfL's remit as running tubes and buses.

There is much more to TfL than simply being a public transport provider.

Indeed, it's pretty much the only significant purview of the Mayor.
Not really true any more - City Hall has incrementally gained more power since 2000, and the Mayor now has much more direct responsibility for police and fire services in London than was originally the case. The Mayor has also gained much more significant power in the planning realm than Ken Livingstone had back on day 1 in May 2000.
 
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