London Tube, train and bus staff are told to prepare for total SHUTDOWN of network this weekend unless TfL gets £1bn bailout – as Sadiq Khan is blasted over bid to extend £15 congestion zone to North and South Circulars
- Eleventh-hour talks for £1billion bailout have stalled because of Govt conditions
- The Mayor is refusing to sign up to an expansion of the congestion charge zone
- Tory rivals say Mr Khan has been backed into a corner after ‘bankrupting’ TfL
Londoners are braced for the capital’s transport system to grind to a halt this weekend as cash-strapped TfL burns through the last of its funding.
Eleventh-hour talks for a £1billion bailout between ministers and Sadiq Khan have stalled because of sticking points involving the Government’s conditions for a deal.
The Mayor is understood to be refusing to sign up to an expansion of the congestion zone to the North and South Circular in particular.
But rivals say he has been backed into a corner after ‘bankrupting’ TfL with mismanagement during his tenure in City Hall.
In May, Mr Khan was forced to hike the congestion charge to £15 as part of a £1.6billion funding agreement with Government.
As that money prepares to dry up tomorrow, Tube and bus drivers have been warned that crucial transport services may stop running if negotiations remain deadlocked.
Eleventh-hour talks for a £1billion bailout between ministers and Sadiq Khan have stalled because of sticking points involving the Government’s conditions for a deal
Londoners are braced for the capital’s transport system to grind to a halt this weekend as cash-strapped TfL burns through the last of its funding
TfL staff have been told to prepare for a Section 114, meaning travel in London will cease to operate, according to LBC.
Both Government and the Mayor say they are working urgently to thrash out a solution, but are at loggerheads over the conditions.
A source close to Mr Khan told MailOnline: ‘Conditions such as extending a £15 congestion charge to the North and South Circular and taking free travel away from children and older people would be totally unacceptable to the Mayor and he would not ask Londoners to accept them in these exceptionally difficult times.’
Extending the congestion zone to the North and South Circular would hit the pockets of millions of Londoners, and has also come under fire from senior Conservatives.
Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘Under no circumstances would I back an extension of the congestion charge zone, regardless of who proposes it… Any extension would hit hard working Londoners in the pocket and be a death knell for small businesses.’
Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘Under no circumstances would I back an extension of the congestion charge zone, regardless of who proposes it’
TfL staff have been told to prepare for a Section 114, meaning travel in London will cease to operate
A source close to his campaign told MailOnline that ministers ‘should think again and fast’.
But Mr Bailey said the very reason an expansion is on the table is because of financial mismanagement from City Hall.
Mr Bailey said: ‘Khan has near bankrupted TfL and hung a closed sign over London.’
Mr Khan maintains that TfL’s financial woes are down to plummeting passenger numbers during the pandemic.
During the peak of the crisis TfL’s revenues dropped 95 per cent as people were instructed to work from home and footfall on carriages fell.
It has risen slightly since lockdown was initially eased after the first wave, but today Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future.
He told LBC: ‘I said back in May the deal we had for six months will be a sticking plaster, we need a sustainable deal.
‘For the foreseeable future there will not five million journeys on our Tube, five-and-a-half million on our buses.’
The Mayor added that the Government should not punish Londoners for ‘doing the right thing’ and avoiding public transport – especially when such conditions have not been imposed on private rail providers.
He said: ‘The facts are that the Government gave the privatised rail operators 18 months funding with no strings attached, but is saying to TfL we’ll give you a six-month deal with strings attached.’
The Department for Transport refused to disclose the details of its funding offer but stressed that negotiations with the Mayor are underway.
A DfT spokesperson said: ‘The Government continues to engage with Transport for London and the Mayor on the impacts of Covid-19 on TfL’s finances.
‘These discussions are ongoing and will ensure London has a safe, reliable network while delivering a fair deal to UK taxpayers.
‘Discussions are underway, and it would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.’