The future of the planned extension of the Bakerloo line has been called into question after Government had to bail out Transport for London (TfL), which is run by the Labour Mayor of London.
Conservative London Assembly candidate for Greenwich & Lewisham, Charlie Davis, has written to the Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, Heidi Alexander, to seek urgent clarification about the future of the project after reports began circulating that TfL was planning to sacrifice the long-awaited project in return for securing the Government bailout.
On Thursday 15th May 2020, the Government announced a £1.69 billion bailout for the London Transport body, with TfL having to commit to a 1% above inflation fares rise, restoring the network to full capacity as soon as possible, reporting staff absence to the Government and for Government officials to attend TfL board meetings.
Charlie has criticised the Mayor's record on transport, highlighting that TfL’s finances were in trouble long before the COVID-19 outbreak, due to issues such as;
- TfL being in £13bn of debt – paying £400m a year in interest
- Delays to Crossrail, which has cost TfL an expected £1.35bn in income from fares (the further delay to 2022 is expected to cost TfL a further £3.65bn)
- The Mayor spent £640m on a fares policy which has benefited tourists more than actual commuters.
Lewisham Conservatives have long supported extending the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham but have raised concerns about the impact of removing the services from the Hayes line, which is proposed as part of the second phase of the extension. Charlie has previously written to TfL to argue the second stage should be an additional service, rather than a replacement.
Charlie said “The population of Lewisham is increasingly growing and we are in desperate need of additional rail capacity to help get people to work. Londoners have come to expect delays and cancellations on key upgrades under this Mayor, so it will surprise no-one if he drops the Bakerloo line extension. After the fiasco of Crossrail, this Mayor has no credibility to deliver big infrastructure projects”.