The Railway Industry Association (RIA), which represents over 300 rail businesses around the UK, has written an open letter to the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, urging both sides to come together and agree a multi-year funding deal for Transport for London (TfL) as soon as possible.
In the letter, RIA states that the current short-term approach to TfL funding ‘not only impacts services, but it also hits jobs, skills, innovation and investment around the UK’, and calls for a multi-year settlement to support vital upgrades to the capital’s transport network. It also acknowledges the support from the Government and TfL during the last two years, but stresses that funding certainty now will not only help passengers in the future, but provide the best bang for the taxpayers’ buck and give businesses the certainty they need to invest in the necessary skills and capabilities.
This comes just one week before the existing four-month funding deal expires, on Friday 24 June.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), commented: “There have been ten stop-gap funding extensions to London’s transport spending in the last two years. Clearly, this is no way to run a transport system, as it harms TfL’s ability to plan for the future, causes real uncertainty for businesses in the supply chain, and results in worse value for money for the taxpayer. As passengers come back to the railways post-Covid, and as London seeks to thrive once again, it is essential its transport network is properly funded for the years ahead.
“So instead of a stop-gap approach, we in the railway industry urge the Government and TfL to now agree a properly funded multi-annual deal to ensure that necessary rail upgrades – for example Piccadilly line signalling or new trains for the Bakerloo line – can go ahead, ultimately for the benefit of passengers.
“Everyone of course recognises the welcome support the Government provided to keep the railways moving during the pandemic, and the current economic challenges we face today. However, this is about planning for a brighter future and upgrading the current network, whether that is improving signalling, procuring new trains or launching major projects, all of which will be needed to meet demand. This investment also helps drive economic growth both in the capital and nationally, with jobs and opportunities in a supply chain which touches every part of the UK.
“The Elizabeth line is a great example of what the industry is capable of and we should rightly celebrate its success. It is now up to the Mayor of London and Transport Secretary to come together and agree that multi-year funding settlement for TfL. With the right investment, London’s rail network can continue to provide clean, affordable and accessible transport to the many millions who live and travel through the capital every day.”
Photo credit: RIA / Shutterstock