Keith Prince AM: Who do you want to guide TfL's future
The government's £1.6 billion bailout deal for Transport for London is good news for the capital but terrible news for Sadiq Khan.
The bailout means TfL will now operate a full service so key workers and Londoners who have returned to work can travel safely. This will reverse Sadiq Khan's awful decision to cut London's Tube service, which led to dangerous crowding, putting key workers at risk of catching and spreading the virus.
As the lockdown is carefully eased and more Londoners begin to travel, Transport for London must be on a firm footing. Without London's public transport network moving safely, our city's economic recovery will be stifled, jeopardising jobs and businesses. This deal will help secure TfL's future so our city can recover after this crisis.
In this unprecedented crisis, which has seen TfL's fares revenue plummet, it's not a surprise that it needed a bailout to survive. However, as the Transport Secretary explained the poor state of TfL's finances before this crisis, caused by the Mayor's appalling decisions, was an important factor behind the bailout.
For four years, Sadiq Khan pursued transport policies which he knew TfL could not afford. His partial fare freeze, which benefited tourists while Londoners saw the cost of their travelcards rise, cost our city at least £640 million. The delay to Crossrail, a vital project which was on time and budget when Khan inherited it, has cost an extra £3.65 billion and £1.35 billion in lost revenue.
That why to fix TfL's finances, the government has stepped in to hold the Mayor to account for his decisions. The bailout deal requires a review of the transport body's books, and government officials will now sit on the board to keep Khan in check. It's clear the government no longer trusts Khan with TfL's finances, and neither should you.
Article by Keith Prince AM first published in the Romford Recorder.