Transport for London funding: the start of levelling down?

This event has already taken place.

Transport has a huge impact on Londoners’ lives. It unlocks job opportunities, helps us access education, and connects us to family and friends. This event will discuss the impact that a managed decline of TfL’s services could have on London’s lower earners.

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But London’s transport network faces an uncertain future. Following a collapse in revenue as a result of the pandemic, TfL urgently needed financial support from the government. Four sticking plaster bailouts have so far kept the buses and tubes running – but the last deal expires on 4th February and there is still isn’t an agreed plan to support TfL’s financial sustainability in the long term.

The Mayor has set out a range of proposals that could address the shortfall, this includes a ‘managed decline’ of key services, council tax hikes or fare rises. According to warnings from the Mayor, starting from as soon as next month, bus services could be cut by a fifth and Tube services by almost a tenth, with upgrades and new projects shelved. Ministers have rejected these claims by the Mayor and said there is no question of funding stopping until April 2023.

Deteriorating infrastructure, worsening services and more expensive fares could make it more difficult for everyone to go about their lives, get to their jobs and visit friends and family in London. The threat is more acute for low-income Londoners, who are more likely to use bus services. Buses currently run at a loss and are subsidised by the tube, so they could be some on the first services to be chopped.

This event brought together campaign groups, charities and the Mayor’s office to discuss the impact that a managed decline could have on London’s lower earners. How would a managed decline of the transport network impact London’s ability to ‘level-up’?


Chair: Claire Harding, Research Director, Centre for London

Alan Benson, Transport Campaigner and Chair of Transport for All

Dr Zubaida Haque, Executive Director, The Equality Trust

Matthew Walsham, Policy Lead, Partnership for Young London


This event is part of our project on levelling up London.


You can catch up on the event by clicking here.


Welcome and opening remarks

Panel discussion