TfL Business Plan

MQT on 2016-12-14
Session date: 
December 14, 2016
Question By: 
Florence Eshalomi
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


How will your TfL Business Plan improve Transport in London?


Answer for TfL Business Plan

Answer for TfL Business Plan

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  From my first day as mayor, creating a modern and affordable transport network that works for every Londoner has been one of my priorities.  The new TfL business plan sets out an ambitious and wide-ranging but sustainable programme that allows us to both freeze TfL fares and to invest record amounts in modernising London’s transport infrastructure.  The plan will make the capital’s transport more accessible, boost capacity, support growth and regeneration and deliver healthy streets, all while keeping public transport safe and affordable. 


My first task was to do with the legacy left by the last administration, which was a mess.  The previous Mayor had put up fares by 42% since 2008, making them the most expensive in Europe, and intended to hike them a further 17%.  I have scrapped the planned increase in TfL fares and I have introduced the Hopper, which is two-for-one within an hour, in order to make buses more affordable for Londoners, especially those on low incomes. 


The previous administration also tried to cover up the scandalous state of London’s polluted air.  By contrast, I am investing £2.5 billion in a Healthy Streets Programme that will put people first in all TfL streets.  In your constituency, Assembly Member Eshalomi, for example, the £1.8 million plan for Norwood Road in Lambeth will transform the local area and further investment in Quietways across London will see healthier streets being created.  TfL also works in your constituency in the London Borough of Lambeth to return the Vauxhall Gyratory to two-way roads, therefore improving pedestrian and cycling provision in the area. 


We are also delivering a sea-change in step-free access.  More than 100 stations will have step-free access by the end of the business plan, the biggest Tube capacity growth London has ever seen, bringing the completion of the Bakerloo line extension forward, investing in Stratford and Oxford Street to encourage more walking and cycling, and also maintaining TfL’s position as a global leader in technology with a new Oyster app.  I have delivered the Night Tube, something the previous Mayor failed to do. 


During my mayoral campaign, I did say that TfL was good but flabby, but the plan is the product of a very thorough, painstaking review by TfL and my Deputy Mayor for Transport.  It puts the organisation on a solid and sustainable financial footing so that it can help our city prosper with the transport it needs to support new jobs and homes and to improve the lives of all Londoners.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  I thank you for that, Mr Mayor.  Definitely, it is a really ambitious Transport Strategy and a robust business plan.  I just wanted to touch on some of those things that you mentioned.


Again, I welcome the additional investment in step fee access, but we know that for a number of disabled passengers public transport can be a major lifeline for them.  I just wanted to read quickly, Chairman, this quote from Alan Benson, the Chair of Transport for All.  He said:


“Passengers on @SouthernRailUK are learning how disabled people experience trains every day with delays, longer journeys & limited access.”


It is great that we are seeing additional investment in step-free access, but can you touch on how the Transport Strategy is going to look at maybe 100% step-free access across London and some of the other challenges that disabled passengers face?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  If you look at public transport across London, our buses are all accessible to people in wheelchairs.  There was an issue about the training of some of our bus drivers.  We are addressing that issue.  In relation to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), all the trains there are accessible.  On the Elizabeth line, all the trains there will be fully accessible.  On the London Overground; roughly speaking, just over 50% are accessible.  On Tubes, many of them are inaccessible; the vast majority.  Only a quarter, roughly speaking, are accessible, around 70 of the 280.  We are going to increase that in a short period with a business plan.  We are going to take that to above 100 stations which, roughly speaking, take it to 40% of Underground stations.  The focus point has been inner London.  We also have to think about outer London.  Harrow on the Hill is a good example where it is outer London’s strategic station.  No station within the vicinity has accessible step-free access.


We are also looking at how we can make it cheaper and quicker to provide step-free access; getting the private sector to be competitive and vying to win these contacts to make sure they can provide a cheaper product that is used by more pedestrians.  I am ambitious.  We are going to move as quickly as we can but I have to be realistic in relation to the envelope of the business plan that I have.  We are increasing the amount we spend on step-free access.  A record number of underground stations will be step-free access; I am afraid it will not be all of them for some time.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  That is great.  One of the other things in the business plan, again, is that you have touched on the fact that TfL is flabby some areas and the Commissioner talks about reducing the management loads and reliance on agency staff and we know this could save around £90 million, which is a lot of money.  I have been looking through the business plan but it does not outline the headcount.  Can you give us some figures in terms of those possible headcounts in terms of reductions?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Sure.  I am not sure how much detail you want me to give and so let me give you some examples.  We have identified, in the business plan, £2 billion savings from establishing a new operating model for its business by reducing management layers and by merging functions such as engineering to eliminate duplication.  We have reduced spend on information technology (IT) projects saving £70 million.  We have implemented an exit programme that has seen 49 senior managers leave the organisation, saving £40 million over the next five years.  We have reduced the spend on non-permanent labour and consultancy, saving £50 million a year.  We have identified an £80 million saving per year over the next five years by moving Tube maintenance in‑house.


There are other examples I can refer to from renegotiating and bringing together the management of contracts, getting more affordable deals from suppliers, renewing and enhancing assets better.  That is how we are going to make the savings we need to make over the next period.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  That is great.  Just finally, Mr Mayor - and again, no surprise - I have been looking at some of your figures.  One thing I noticed was that over the next few years, there will be a reduction of around £350 million in property income.  Is this because we are going to see more of a commitment - rightly so - in additional affordable housing or are there other factors to play in this?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  We have a choice when it comes to the surplus public land that we own.  We can sell it to the highest bidder; do they not complain when it is a luxurious hotel, or we can say, “You know what?  This land, the best value we can get from it is to see if we can come up with a scheme”.  Sometimes there will be joint ventures with a significant number of genuinely affordable homes and some market value or even luxury properties on that side as well.  In the long-term, it will benefit Londoners and the medium and short-term because it means there are genuinely affordable homes for Londoners to live in.  Kidbrooke is just one example.  There will be many more going forward.  By the way, the same applies to the fire service and the police service as well.


Florence Eshalomi AM:  Great.  Thank you, Mr Mayor.