A £1BILLION government bailout has been offered to Transport for London — but only if mayor Sadiq Khan agrees to extend the congestion charge zone and increase fares.
Mr Khan (pictured) has warned that TfL could run out of money by tomorrow following a £1.6billion cash injection in May.
The government proposal comes with a list of conditions, including fare increases across the capital’s rail and bus services and the ending of free travel for children and pensioners, according to Sky News.
Extending the congestion charge zone to boundaries of the North Circular and South Circular roads is also said to be among ministers’ demands. The extra cash would cover around two months’ of TfL’s costs — but the transport authority is said to be holding out for double that amount. The £11.50 congestion charge was suspended on March 23 at the start of lockdown before being reintroduced on June 22 and increased to £15.
The charge was also expanded from 7am until 10pm, while weekends were also included.
TfL said: ‘We continue to discuss our immediate funding requirements with the government and hope these discussions can be concluded successfully soonso we can help London through this next phase of the pandemic.
‘We are doing what we can to minimise costs and aim to continue operating a full service across our network while our funding discussions continue.’
The Department for Transport 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.’