Other cost-cutting suggestions include scrapping the Night Tube.
With falls in ridership during the pandemic putting TfL’s finances in dire straits, it seems the company is desperately trying to find ways to get some more money, especially as the government has twice had to bail it out, at a cost of £3.4 billion.
There has been discussions of higher tube fares and council tax rises as part of the government’s bailout plan, however the latest suggestion to raise some extra cash involves something similar to the Congestion Charge. The plan would affect people on the outskirts of London as opposed to those within the city, with motorists facing a £3.50 daily charge to enter Greater London.
The motorist charge is one of a series of options proposed to Sadiq Khan to help restore the finances of TfL, reports the Evening Standard, with other major suggestions including:
- Scrapping the Night Tube and the “Boris bike” cycle hire scheme
- Axing bus routes in the suburbs
- Reforming TfL’s “expensive” employee pension scheme
- Retaining the ban on free travel for pensioners in the morning peak
- Closing some Tube stations at weekends
The Mayor of London has asked TfL officials to investigate the “feasibility” of introducing a £3.50 “Greater London boundary charge”, though it would not be implemented for at least two years to enable the economy to recover from the pandemic. The proposal is seen by the Mayor as a fall-back option if TfL’s longstanding demand for a reform of the rules on vehicle excise duty continues to be rejected by the Government.
The charge would only be paid by drivers of cars registered outside the London boroughs, and would add to the £15 congestion charge and £12.50 ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), which expands to the suburbs on October 25, 2021. The motorists who will most likely be affected by this potential plan will include those in the counties bordering Greater London such as Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex.
The news of this latest plan comes after the independent report into TfL’s long-term finances was published today, which was commissioned by the Mayor and the TfL board in July. It said additional road-user charging was a “strong” option and “should form part of a balanced package of interventions to address the sustainability of London’s transport”.
The report added: “It would not be right to increase charges on public transport users without also addressing income from road users.” However, before a Greater London boundary charge could be imposed on non-Londoners, it would need go through a public consultation.