United Kingdom

TFL scraps free Night Tube on New Year’s Eve

TFL is facing an unprecedented funding crisis due to the pandemic (Picture: Getty)

Londoners won’t get their traditional free Tube ride home on New Year’s Eve this year due to TFL’s funding crisis.

Transport for London (TFL) said it was having charge for journeys due to the ‘catastrophic impact of the pandemic’ on its finances.

Normally the Underground is free on December 31 from 11.45pm until 4.30am – a treat dating back to 2000.

The cost is often covered by a sponsor, but this year one could not be found, according to the Evening Standard.

The Tube will still run through the night on New Year’s Eve, but passengers will have to pay to travel.

It is the second year in a row Tube journey’s won’t be free – though last year’s NYE celebrations were restricted due to the second wave of the pandemic.

The crisis has mainly been caused by a huge drop in passenger numbers during the pandemic (Picture: Getty)

TFL said: ‘Following the catastrophic impact of the pandemic on TfL’s finances, TfL unfortunately will not be able to offer free travel on New Year’s Eve.

‘Services on the transport network will run through the night, ensuring that people can enjoy everything London has to offer and get home safely.’

London’s much-loved fireworks display on the Thames was cancelled again this New year’s Eve due to ‘uncertainties caused by Covid.’

Instead, a ticketed event will go ahead in Trafalgar Square.

Plans to ditch the free Tube come after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said some lines might have to close altogether amid a £1.9bn blackhole in TFL’s finances.

The funding gap was mainly caused by the huge drop in passengers due to the pandemic.

Nearly £4billion in government bailouts has been paid to keep the network afloat during lockdown, but it is set to expire on December 11.

TFL is seeking £500m to keep services running until next April, plus about £1.2bn for 2022/23.

Without the funds, Mr Khan said a Tube line and 100 bus routes may be axed.

The Bakerloo and Jubilee lines are reportedly most at risk from cuts or closure but the Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines could also be hit due to lower passenger numbers and overlapping rail or Tube services.

‘There really is so much at stake and time is running out,’ Mr Khan told a conference on Tuesday.

‘This unprecedented financial crisis facing TfL could have such far-reaching consequences.

‘It won’t be long before London itself will no longer have London-style transport services. We will be forced to move into ‘managed decline’ leading to rundown services reminiscent of the 1970s and 1980s.

‘This is no exaggeration. Bus services would have to be reduced by almost a fifth. Tube services would need to be cut by nearly 10 per cent. In practice this could mean over 100 bus routes being withdrawn and the full closure of a whole Tube line.’

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