Business leaders in London have called on newly re-elected mayor, Sadiq Khan and Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps to come together to sort out the capital’s transport system.
They have urged Khan and Shapps to devise long-term and sustainable transport solutions, in a letter signed by 37 chief executives of some of the top London-based companies. Lobbying group, London First, who co-ordinated the letter, has said teh ‘stakes are too high’ to delay. It says: “London does not work without public transport. And the UK cannot work without London,” according to a report by the Evening Standard.
The ‘essential’ first step, the group argue, is to continue an emergency funding deal, and then sit down to devise an entirely new transport strategy that can cope with post-pandemic working changes, the rise of ride-hailing apps and the need to cut London’s carbon emissions. They say the pandemic “has broken an already strained funding model” and improvements over the past 20 years could be lost without action. “TfL needs a funding model that is based on the future needs of the city; not just a patching up of the pre-pandemic settlement.
“Trends in passenger behaviour and technology – from ride hailing and micromobility to the decline of five-day-a-week commuting – mean that the city’s needs are constantly evolving. The pandemic has accelerated much of this,” they added.
A spokesman for the Mayor said: “This pandemic has been devastating for TfL’s finances. Securing a long-term funding settlement for the capital’s transport network is not only vital for London’s businesses and our prosperity, but will be a key driver in the recovery of the UK economy. The Mayor is fully committed to putting politics aside and working closely with ministers over the coming days to agree funding for TfL. Putting TfL on a sustainable financial footing after COVID-19 is simply in everyone’s interest.”
A spokesman for the Government said: “This Government has kept London’s transport network moving with more than £3 billion in emergency funding since the start of the pandemic. Ensuring value for money for taxpayers has been at the heart of our approach. Future funding packages will seek to move TfL onto a more financially sustainable footing.”