London Underground hit much harder by Covid than transport in New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Madrid – here’s why

London Underground hit much harder by Covid than transport in New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Madrid – here’s why

The funding for the London Underground and the city’s bus networks was hit much harder that similar services in other world cities.

Much was made when it was revealed last year just how close to running out of funds TfL was.

Although they had managed to reduce its deficit from around £1.5bn to around £127m at the beginning of last year, this blew up to around £2bn when the effects of the virus were felt.

As the lockdown bit and millions of Londoners shifted to work from home, the number of passengers completely dropped off.

This meant no money was coming in from ticket sales and other sources of income also dried up such as advertising.

Between April and June TfL’s revenue plummeted by around 90 per cent.

Many industries have been devastated by the pandemic so no one would blame you if London’s transport system didn’t stand out.

But it in fact fared far worse than networks in other major cities such as New York, Hong Kong, Paris and Madrid.

This because TfL gets far more of its funding from fares rather than government grants and other sources, according to a recent independent report ordered by TfL.

In total about 72 per cent of the TfL’s operating income normally comes from ticket sales.

Compare this to the New York equivalent (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), which get just 38 per cent of its operating income from fares.

In Paris this is also 38 per cent, Hong Kong it’s 37 per cent, Singapore just 21 per cent and Madrid 47 per cent.

This meant that when the pandemic hit and passenger numbers dropped dramatically, it was TfL that was far more vulnerable.

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