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Coronavirus: Transport for London could lose £500m in passenger income through impact of Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 March 2020

Near empty escalators at Canary Wharf station as many people have started to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Near empty escalators at Canary Wharf station as many people have started to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Transport for London (TfL) could lose up to £500 million in income from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

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TfL revealed that its current financial forecast, based on government scenarios, predicted the dramatic reduction in passenger income.

The announcement comes as its latest figures showed a fall of almost a fifth in passengers on the Tube network in the last week.

Compared to the same time period as last year, there was a 19 per cent fall in Underground passengers and a 10pc fall on those using the capital’s buses.

TfL said the decreases were made up equally of fewer journeys being made by those travelling and less people using the network.

A spokesman put the drop in passenger numbers down to factors including a significant fall in visitors to London, firms asking employees to work from home and “softness” in demand relating to people being cautious financially.

TfL forecasted that it will be able to manage the initial impact of Covid-19, due to its forecasted end of year cash balance of more than £2 billion.

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But Simon Kilonback, TfL’s chief finance officer, said it will be looking to the government to provide financial support.

“Our best forecast, based on government scenarios, is that the financial impact of the coronavirus could be up to £500m.

“We manage our finances prudently, and have reduced our deficit hugely in recent years. This means that we can manage the impacts on our passenger numbers and finances that are currently envisaged.”

He added that it is following and communicating advice from Public Health England relating to the coronavirus outbreak, including that “there is no specific risk on public transport.”

TfL announced last week it had introduced enhanced cleaning across its Tube and bus network in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The latest update given by Public Health England yesterday (Monday, March 16) revealed there were 1,543 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK, with 55 people dying after contracting the virus.

Prime minister Boris Johnson or another senior minister will be providing daily press conferences with the latest updates on the pandemic.


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