TfL Finds Cash Behind The Sofa

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 107 months ago
TfL Finds Cash Behind The Sofa

Image by gary8345 from the Londonist Flickr pool
Well, not quite. TfL is expected to announce it's worked out how to save £2.5bn to meet the funding gap left by Metronet's demise. In addition to the 1,000 redundancies that brought the RMT out on strike, money will be saved by postponing upgrades to 50 stations, negotiating new terms with suppliers and pushing back plans for more frequent services on the Bakerloo line til 2020.

The good news is that the signalling upgrade to the District, Circle, Metropolitan and H&C lines will go ahead. At the risk of being controversial, we reckon they're more in need than the Bakerloo (whenever we've used the 'Loo it's always seemed fast, frequent and reliable, but we're prepared to be banged to rights by any regulars).

But this funding gap isn't the same funding gap that we told you about last month. No, the Tube Lines 'missing' billions still needs sorting out. And of course, the RMT are talking up the dangers of cost-cutting and more strikes. Since, you know, the last one was such an unmitigated hit with everyone. *ahem*

Last Updated 22 June 2009


In my mind there can be no doubt who should pick up the bill: central government. I'm pretty sure I remember a certain mayor of ours taking them to court to get the whole stupid episode blocked. They wouldn't listen, they pay for it.


Meh. For all people's grumbles about the tube (and they are both numerous and accurate), it is undeniable that the past ten years of investment have seen new trains (with the investment in the Vic line, District, Circle, H&C, and Met trains all coming through in the next year or two), better stations with better capacity, a more reliable and more frequent service (thanks to renewed signalling).

OK, so these might all not be universal truths, and I can certainly think of a few examples where things are still a mess, but on the overall picture, things are looking better.

If we cut back funding now, we're dangerously at risk of ending up in the same situation we were in the early / mid 90s where the tube was in a total state, and even more unreliable. If we don't continue working to increase train frequencies and station capacities, how the heck do we expect to be able to handle predicted increases in passenger numbers?

So there's no money in TfL's coffers. Central government should be stepping in, but of course won't because Labour don't want to be handing good publicity "Boris wins tube funding" to the Tories. Either the Labour party need to grow up and give London the money it needs, or the Tories need to commit to giving TfL money if elected, which of course they are highly unlikely to do.

Here's to the coming decade of underinvestment.