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TfL bus service review postponed to avoid “stifling recovery” UK News

A planned review that business and transport groups say will lead to cuts to bus services in London has been postponed until September, the government has confirmed.

The Department for Transport (DfT) had asked TfL to undertake a review of demand for bus services in July and September as part of the £ 1.08 billion emergency funding deal reached in the month last to determine future levels of service.

But in a letter to Labor MP for Ilford, Sam Tarry, the DfT confirmed that the July review would be removed as a condition of the funding settlement following the decision to postpone lifting the lockdown restrictions to July 19.

Mr Tarry wrote to Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps asking that the review be postponed until the fall following warnings from companies and transportation groups that potential cuts could “stifle the recovery” after the pandemic.

Transport watchdog London TravelWatch had said carrying out the review in July “would not give an accurate picture” of future bus demand as many people have yet to be returned to their buses. offices, and that this could lead to “premature or reckless cuts to services”.

Group director Emma Gibson said any new review date should be delayed until enough people have returned to the office “to give a full and accurate picture of the post-pandemic demands of the city”.

Ms Gibson said: ‘We are truly delighted that the government has listened to London TravelWatch and others and decided to delay reviewing the demand for bus services in London which was slated for later this month.

“If that had been done, there was a real danger that the review would have underestimated the demand for buses, as most people are unlikely to return to their offices until the fall. This could have resulted in premature reductions in the frequency of buses, which would have made the bus less attractive to use, with overcrowding and subsequent loss of fare revenue. ”

TfL is now expected to review the levels of use of bus services, as well as the metro and TfL Rail, throughout September, as it seeks to determine what will be the ‘new normal’ for the use of railways. public transport after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The most recent figures from TfL show that the demand for bus services in London is between 60 and 65% of pre-pandemic levels, while the number of underground passengers is between 40 and 45%.

Last month, TfL commissioner Andy Byford said that “we are seeing a return to normalcy” in public transport, but that in the “best case scenario” the number of passengers on the London transport network could reach 90% of the level before. pandemic levels by March 2022.

TfL is expected to find £ 300million in savings or new revenue in the year 2021 to 2022 under the terms of the latest funding agreement to overcome its over-reliance on passenger fares for its revenue.

Baroness Vere, Minister of Roads, Buses and Places, said in her letter to Sam Tarry that the review will generate “a range of service level options to effectively manage the services and associated costs to support the achieving financial sustainability by the target date of April. 2023 “.

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This notice was published: 2021-07-12 17:11:36

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