Mayor takes 'difficult decision' to scale back improvements and raise fares in face of huge financial pressures

The parlous state of Transport for London's (TfL) finances has forced the transport operator to make swingeing cuts to its capital programme and increase the cost of travel for consumers.

An internal TfL memo blamed “huge financial pressures on TfL caused by factors including the collapse of Metronet, a recession-linked fall in Tube ridership, and the fares policy of the previous administration” for the cuts and price hikes.

Boris Johnson
Johnson: "The crucial thing is that we safeguard the investment in our city's future"

As previously reported in Building, the £695m upgrade to Victoria station ticket hall has been postponed until 2018.

TfL also said that step-free access was being scaled back at six stations: Osterley, Greenford, West Kensington, Amersham, Ladbroke Grove and Newbury Park.

Work at key strategic stations – Green Park, King's Cross, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street – will continue.

Stations previously being improved under the Metronet contract will have three more years added to their development programmes.

London mayor Boris Johnson said he had only taken the steps after making £5bn of efficiency savings, adding: “The mistakes of the past and the current economic climate have conspired to present us with a huge challenge.

“The crucial thing is that we safeguard the investment in our city's future, and that's why I'm asking Londoners to accept this difficult decision.”

Meanwhile, travellers will pay 12.7% more for bus fares and 3.9% more for tube fares from January next year. The daily congestion charge will be raised £2 to £10, although those using an automatic payment system would be charged £9.