London’s transport system has secured a bailout from the government worth nearly £2 billion, following weeks of politically-charged wrangling as the coronavirus continues to decimate revenues.
Transport for London (TfL), which runs the British capital’s public transport network, said the deal worth £1.8 billion would enable it to keep operating services until the end of March 2021.
It comes as England enters a second national lockdown for four weeks, with people ordered to stay at home except in cases where exemptions apply, such as for work, education or exercise.
Pubs and restaurants will shut unless serving takeaway food, while all leisure and entertainment venues and non-essential shops will close.
TfL said the exact amount of money it will get from the ruling Conservative government would be subject to passenger revenue in the coming months.
London mayor Sadiq Khan, from the opposition Labour party, had for weeks been opposing raising fares and making other changes in exchange for the funding boost.
He said it was not “a perfect deal” but that he had succeeded in “killing off the very worst government proposals”.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps described the agreement as “fair to taxpayers across the country”.
Last month prime minister Boris Johnson claimed TfL was “effectively bankrupted” before the coronavirus pandemic, and proposals to hike charges were “entirely the responsibility” of Khan.
The government pumped £1.6bn into the system in May to restore services and help prevent overcrowding as people returned to work when the first national shutdown was eased.