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Crossrail Delay Will Escalate Into London-Wide Transport Crisis

18 April 2019

TSSA is warning the delays at Crossrail will escalate into a London-wide transport crisis unless the Government intervenes with a proper emergency plan to underwrite the capital's public transport infrastructure.

Crossrail - or the Elizabeth Line - was scheduled to be opened by The Queen in December last year with revenues from the company supposed to subsidise, among other things, the running of bus services.

In anticipation of project completion on schedule, the government began an ill-advised phase out of a central government subsidy to transport operator Transport for London (TfL) in 2017 to withdraw a total of £750 million.

As of this financial year (April 1st, 2019) London receives no operational transport subsidy from the government - the only major capital city in the world not to receive one.

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, believes revelations today that Crossrail is now not expected to open until 2021, on top of the now zero-sum operational grant, spells disaster for the funding plan for the rest of transport in London.

Manuel Cortes said: "The Tory government were playing their petty party politics with London's transport when they began to withdraw the public funding of an operational grant for TfL without any guarantee that Crossrail would be completed on time.

“London is now the only major capital city on our planet not to get an operational grant to run its public transport network.

"TfL have been struggling to cope with the impact of what has been a very big cut in its funding. Back office staff have been cut. Compliance Officers cut. Station staff cut. Security staff cut. Nearly all ticket offices have disappeared and passenger information centres have also been cut.

"The viability of TfL's entire business plan was resting on Crossrail coming in on time, it's not hard to see now why a major crisis lies ahead as its anticipated high revenues were to be used to support the capital's entire transport network.

"Well that plan has badly failed. Zero government operational grant plus zero Crossrail revenues for another two years equals another Chris Grayling made disaster. His reputation as hapless Secretary for Transport Incompetence is now far beyond a national joke.

"Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, is going to have to find the funds to mount a proper rescue plan otherwise transport services will grind to a halt.

"Re-instating the operating grant is a matter of national priority. London business is reported as losing £12milion yesterday when our transport network was targeted by climate change protesters.

“The Crossrail delay is what it is. But unless the government reinstate the operating grant, the real transport crisis in London will be the collapse of the existing inadequate services Crossrail was designed to boost."

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