London Transport Highlights From The Spending Review


Today has been a busy day at Whitehall, City Hall and the offices of TfL. It seems best to skip the formalities and head straight to the meat. The full report can be downloaded here (or purchased for £45 if you feel like doing your part for the economy).


Crossrail was, of course, the headline item from a Transport perspective. In short the Chancellor confirmed that the project would indeed go ahead. The report, however, failed to confirm full details. These along with many other transport details would follow later, Osborne confirmed. This left the issue of whether the project’s full scope would be delivered worryingly open to question.

The situation, however, has since been clarified somewhat. At a press conference this afternoon, the Mayor indicated that the project would be delivered a year later than planned due to various savings measures including changes to the tunnelling approach (effectively everything the FT suggested earlier this month). This now seems to be officially confirmed by the DfT’s own statement on the Review (bolding ours):

Crossrail will go ahead to the original scope. Working with Crossrail Ltd and the Mayor, Government has already identified substantial, engineering-led, savings to the Crossrail funding package, including through lengthening the delivery programme for the central tunnel works by around a year. Crossrail Ltd will also be doing further work to optimise the scheme’s value for money, including reviewing the way in which services come into operation across the route to ensure that Crossrail services commence in a resilient and robust way. As a result, the funding envelope for the project will be reduced by around £1bn, while the scope of the project remains unaltered. We now expect the project to cost no more than £14.5bn.


Thameslink is worryingly noticable by its absence in any way from the announcement. Presumably details of how the review affects the programme will be made public later this week, although it may not be a good sign that it warranted no mention here.

The Underground

Like Crossrail, this was an area where the announcements were broadly positive but still require some clarification. From the report:

£6 billion over the Spending Review period will be spent on maintaining and upgrading the London Underground network, supporting growth by improving reliability and reducing travel times.

A statement from Peter Hendy (which we will reproduce shortly) does, however, provide a bit more detail and seems to suggest that the Tube Upgrades and several station upgrades will go ahead as planned. Again, more details are due this week:

The upgrade of the Tube, including major congestion relief schemes at Victoria, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Paddington and Bank, and building Crossrail.

Budget Cuts

The review confirms that TfL will now face a £2.17bn total cut in their funding from the DfT over the next four years. That effectively equates to a 21% overall budget deduction. Peter Hendy’s statement provides some overview of how these savings are intended to be met.

On the Roads

One way they will not be met, however is by retaining the Western Extension to the Congestion Charge. The Mayor confirmed during his press conference that this would indeed be removed in the new year. The charge will, however, be raised to £10 (or £9 if drivers opt to use the new Auto-pay system that will be phased in next year).

Elsewhere on the Roads, TfL will be looking to make savings by reducing the amount of maintenance they provide on their managed network and by introducing parking fees where possible.

Fare Rises

One of the major areas of bad news for travellers was that of fares. TfL have confirmed that the price of a single bus ticket will rise from the 2nd of January to £1.30 (which, as one commentator pointed out, means that bus fares will have risen by 44% during Mayor Johnson’s current term).

On mainline rail, the DfT are raising the cap on regulated fares (which includes season tickets) from RPI+1% TO RPI+3% from 2012 onwards.

On the Underground, fares will rise by the previously confirmed RPI+2% from 2011 onwards. Full details of those rises can be found here. This also includes a “simplification” of travelcards that leads to some potentially rather large price increases for certain travellers. The basic Oyster price changes are below, and 853 have a good breakdown here.

   Current 2010    2011  
   Price    Price  
   Peak  Off-peak  Peak  Off-peak
 Pay as you go – single journey fares (pence)        
 Including Zone 1        
 1 Zone  180  180  190  190
 2 Zones  230  180  250  190
 3 Zones  270  240  290  250
 4 Zones  310  240  340  250
 5 Zones  380  240  410  270
 6 Zones  420  240  450  270
 Excluding Zone 1        
 2 Zones  130  130  140  130
 3 Zones  220  130  220  140
 4 Zones  220  130  250  140
 5 Zones  220  130  250  140
 Cash – single journey fares (pence)        
 Including Zone 1        
 3 Zones  400  400  400  400
 4 Zones  400  400  500  500
 6 Zones  450  450  500  500
 Excluding Zone 1        
 5 Zones  350  350  500  500
 Seven-day Travelcard prices (£)        
 Including Zone 1        
 2 Zones  25.80  25.80  27.60  27.60
 3 Zones  30.20  30.20  32.20  32.20
 4 Zones  36.80  36.80  39.40  39.40
 5 Zones  44.00  44.00  47.00  47.00
 6 Zones  47.60   7.60  50.40  50.40
 Excluding Zone 1        
 2 Zones  19.00 19.00  20.80  20.80
 3 Zones  21.40  21.40  22.80  22.80
 4 Zones  25.60  25.60  27.40  27.40
 5 Zones  32.40  32.40  34.40  34.40

Peter Hendy’s statement follows this post, and we will follow with more detail on all the coming changes as they become known. Both the Railway Eye and Dave Hill at the Guardian also have some good coverage of the review and are worth a read.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.