A private hire union has heavily criticised the reported conditions attached to the Government’s Transport for London (TfL) bail-out.
The GMB Union are concerned that the reported removal of free travel for both young and old, in addition to an expansion of the congestion charge zone, could effect all Londoners between the North and South Circular ring roads and London centre.
The union says that private hire drivers are still reeling from the initial increase to their expenses that are not often covered completely by operators pricing models. These drivers are likely to be one of the hardest-hit groups who now have no alternative but to add the cost of the extended Congestion Charge zone to passenger fares, causing further expense to the travelling public.
On 16 October it was agreed that the existing funding package handed to TfL was to be extended for a further two weeks up until 31 October.
TfL's actual funding shortfall to 17 October was less than £1.6bn, largely due to higher than anticipated ridership, the funding provided under the existing funding package can continue to be used and will remain sufficient while discussions continue throughout the next two weeks
London’s transport regulators maintain that before the coronavirus pandemic, TfL was on the path to achieving financial self-sufficiency. However, the pandemic has massively impacted TfL's finances and significantly reduced its fares revenue.
Steve Garelick, London Region Organiser, said: "It’s bad enough Londoners are still paying for the folly of London’s last commander in Chief Boris Johnsons ill-fated Garden Bridge Project and Bendy Bus debacle.
"Penalising the wallets of Londoner’s with a clear plan to blame the mayor when this is a deal with the devil Sadiq Khan would have preferred not to make, is wholly unfair.
"In the meantime private hire drivers and their families, as well as ordinary Londoners, are the unwitting players in this vicious gameplay perpetrated by Boris Johnson and his government.
"Families who can barely make ends meet will be impacted by an attempt to push people on to public transport well it may not be appropriate or possible."