Smart Transport

TfL furloughs 7,000 staff due to reduction in passenger numbers

Transport for London (TfL) has furloughed 7,000 staff for three weeks as a result of falling passenger numbers by 95% due to the coronavirus.

TfL said using the Government's Job Retention Scheme to furlough around 25% of the workforce would save an estimated £15.8 million every four weeks.

This will partly reduce the huge financial impact of coronavirus while "constructive discussions" continue with the Government on the wider revenue support that TfL will need to continue the effective operation of London's transport network.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told the BBC last week that TfL faces not being able to pay staff and must consider more cuts to services if the Government doesn't step in with financial support before May.

Tube journeys have fallen by 95% since the lockdown on March 23 and journeys on buses have fallen by 85%.

The fall in passenger numbers has meant TfL's main source of income has almost disappeared.

TfL said it has assessed which roles within the organisation are suitable for the scheme, ensuring that all staff required for recovery planning and delivery are retained.

TfL will pay the remainder of salaries up to 100% for all furloughed employees and will continue to pay pension contributions.

London's Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown, MVO said: “The transport network is crucial in the fight to tackle coronavirus and it will play a similarly vital role in supporting the country's economy as it recovers from the pandemic.

“We have significantly cut our costs over recent years but nevertheless the success of encouraging the vast majority of people to stay at home has seen our main revenue, fares, reduce by 90%.

“Our work with the Government about the support that we need are ongoing and are constructive.

“We hope for an urgent agreement so that we can continue to provide the city with the vital transport it needs now and going forward.”

Watch our webinar. Covid-19: Transport responses outside cities

A Smart Transport webinar with the University of Hertfordshire

> Watch a recording of the webinar

Webinar content

While travel of all kinds has massively reduced during the Covid-19 lockdown, some travel for key workers and for freight is essential. 

How is this being provided, especially outside major cities? 

And what are the opportunities this might present for the future? 

This webinar will feature two experimental responses in different rural areas in the UK, and reflections from a tech company on the role microtransit, allied with data analysis, can play in meeting lockdown travel needs. 

It brings together Bauer's Smart Transport programme with the University of Hertfordshire's Smart Mobility Unit, which is researching and testing policy initiatives for transport outside cities. 


- Beate Kubitz, innovative transport consultant: An e-cargo bike service for a Pennine village

- Austin Blackburn, Go Coach: Demand responsive buses for Kent during the lockdown

- Darian Helm/ Jerome Mayaud, SpareLabs: Microtransit as a response to lockdown transport needs

- Richard Dilks, CoMoUK: Reflections on mobility and transport outside cities during Covid-19, and implications for what follows.

Webinar chair

Stephen Joseph
Chair of Smart Transport and visiting professor, University of Hertfordshire. 

Watch our webinar

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