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Congestion and ULEZ charges to start again from Monday

London bus on Westminster Bridge

Cash-strapped Transport for London (TfL) has secured a £1.6 billion bailout from the Government after warning it could have to cut services.

TfL had said it would have been forced to issue a Section 114 notice - the equivalent of a public body going bust - if no deal had been reached by the end of yesterday (Thursday, May 14).

However, a deal between both parties was agreed at the eleventh hour, with the £1.6bn funding being provided through a mixture of grants and loans based upon a series of conditions agreed by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. 

They include, the reintroduction of fares on buses and the reinstatement of congestion and ULEZ charging schemes, alongside increasing service levels on tubes and buses, said the Department for Transport (DfT).

The congestion charge it is due to be re-introduced on Monday (May 18) at the pre-lockdown cost.

However, from June 22, drivers will have to pay £15 rather than £11.50 per day including weekends – rather than just on weekdays as current rules stipulate. 

In addition, operating hours will be temporarily increased in the evening, extending from 6pm to 10pm.

TfL will also extend the congestion charge reimbursement scheme to help NHS and care home staff.

The ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) will also be re-introduced on Monday (May 18), having been suspended alongside the congestion charge. 

Both were suspended until further notice, when the lockdown was first introduced.

DfT added that the Mayor of London has also agreed the Government will carry out an immediate and broad-ranging review of the organisation’s future financial position and structure, including the potential for efficiencies.

Two special representatives will represent the Government on TfL’s board, its finance committee and its programmes and investment committee, in order to ensure best value for money for the taxpayer, it said. Furthermore, Khan has agreed to increase fares next year on all modes by inflation plus 1%.

The deal, a grant of £1.095bn and a loan of £505 million, runs until October 2020, said the DfT.

London's Transport Commissioner Mike Brown welcomed the Government support, which he said would help it to get London moving and working again, “safely and sustainably”.

"London’s transport network is absolutely fundamental to the economic, social and environmental health of the capital," said Brown.

“Throughout the pandemic, transport workers have played a heroic role in the response to the virus – ensuring NHS and care staff have been able to get to work and save lives.”

Passenger numbers on buses and tubes has fallen to levels not seen for 100 years, which has meant that TfL’s revenues have fallen by 90%.    

Brown explained: "We have been operating up to 70% of peak tube services and over 80% of bus services with many of our staff ill, shielding or in self isolation. From next week we will further increase services beyond this as we progressively build towards restoring services to pre-covid levels.

"To maintain social distancing wherever possible, the transport network needs to operate differently during this extraordinary period.

“In line with advice from the Government and Mayor we are encouraging people who can work from home to continue to do so to enable the people who must travel to do so safely.

“We are asking everyone to try and avoid the busiest times to support social distancing wherever possible, to wear non-medical face coverings when they do need to use public transport, and to walk and cycle whenever possible.”

In fact, transport secretary Grant Shapps told the daily Downing Street press briefing it was people’s civic duty to try and currently avoid using public transport.

He has announced £2bn in in funding to encourage alternative ways to travel, with social distancing rules putting pressure on public transport as people return to work. 

Brown said: "Enormous challenges remain, including agreeing longer term sustainable funding for transport in the capital. In the meantime, we will continue to do everything in our power to help deliver a successful recovery for our great city."

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  • George - 15/05/2020 11:57

    So does that mean we need to look out for more spurious PCN's being issued, targeting the haulage industry!

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