Don’t blame Sadiq Khan for the Freedom Pass restrictions

Thursday, 2nd December 2021

Sadiq Khan

‘The blame for TfL’s financial crisis lies squarely with the government, not Sadiq Khan’

• ANOTHER week, another letter blaming Sadiq Khan and Transport for London for transport cuts and Freedom Pass restrictions that aren’t their fault… (Mayor needs to tell us why the restrictions on Freedom Pass use continue, November 25).

Once again, let’s reiterate that blame for TfL’s financial crisis lies squarely with the government, not Sadiq Khan: far from getting “yet more money”, as your correspondent alleges, TfL has had no regular government support since 2015, when a typically shabby deal between Tory mayor Boris Johnson and Tory chancellor George Osborne scrapped the funding completely, a cut of £700million a year.

Reliant entirely on fares and trading as a result, TfL saw its income demolished by the Covid-19 pandemic and it faced collapse.

When the government (reluctantly) bailed it out last year, the price of this support included imposition of the Freedom Pass cuts that now penalise so many people; it’s nothing to do with “too many passengers” or the current mayor’s policies.

Now TfL, once again facing financial disaster (passenger numbers haven’t recovered), and still under the Treasury cosh, is likely to have to cut a further 20 per cent from its budget, clobbering bus and tube services just when Camden and other councils want to reduce car journeys and encourage more use of public transport.

Rather than complaining to the CNJ, correspondents fed up with the Freedom Pass cuts and the levelling-down agenda being foisted on Londoners should lay the blame where it belongs: with Boris Johnson, ex-Mayor of London, now at 10 Downing Street.

DON KELLER, N15

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