Transport for London is desperately trying to find ways to get some more money.
The coronavirus pandemic stopped people travelling in London, and so cost TfL millions in lost fares – and the government has twice had to bail it out, at a cost of £3.4 billion.
For a long while there was talk of expanding the £15 Congestion Charge zone to the North and South Circular, a plan that has thankfully been dropped.
But still – TfL needs money.
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The latest plan to raise some extra cash involves something in a similar vein to the Congestion Charge.
A number of radical plans have been proposed to Sadiq Khan to help restore the finances of TfL, reports the Evening Standard, one of which will see motorists who do not live in the capital facing a £3.50 daily charge to enter Greater London.
The Mayor of London has asked TfL officials to investigate the “feasibility” of introducing a £3.50 “Greater London boundary charge”, though it would not be implemented for at least two years to enable the economy to recover from the pandemic.
The charge would only be paid by drivers of cars registered outside the London boroughs, and would add to the £15 congestion charge and £12.50 ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), which expands to the suburbs on October 25, 2021.
Other major suggestions include scrapping the Night Tube, Santander Bikes, getting rid of bus routes in the suburbs, stopping free travel for pensioners in the morning and closing some Tube stations at weekend.
The proposal is seen by the Mayor as a fall-back option if TfL’s longstanding demand for a reform of the rules on vehicle excise duty continues to be rejected by the Government.
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Mr Khan said the Government had failed to “play fair” in funding TfL after it lost its £700m a year annual subsidy, forcing it to rely on fares for three-quarters of its income.
This week TfL confirmed it had no cash to continue major projects such as Crossrail 2, the Bakerloo line extension and the DLR extension to Thamesmead, and that the rebuilding of South Kensington Tube and the Sutton tram extension were also halted.