Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) is a local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London, England.[2] Its head office is 55 Broadway in the City of Westminster.[2]

Transport for London
Area of responsibility within England
Formation3 July 2000 (Greater London Authority Act 1999)
TypeStatutory corporation
Legal statusExecutive agency within GLA
PurposeTransport authority
Headquarters55 Broadway,
London, SW1
Region served
Greater London
Mayor of London
Sadiq Khan
Mike Brown
Main organ
Parent organisation
Greater London Authority (GLA)
2015–16: £11.5 billion (40% of this from fares)[1]
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TfL has responsibility for London's network of principal road routes, for various rail networks including the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and TfL Rail. It does not control National Rail services in London, however, but does for London's trams, buses and taxis, for cycling provision, and for river services. The underlying services are provided by a mixture of wholly owned subsidiary companies (principally London Underground), by private sector franchisees (the remaining rail services, trams and most buses) and by licensees (some buses, taxis and river services). TfL is also responsible, jointly with the national Department for Transport (DfT), for commissioning the construction of the new Crossrail line, and will be responsible for franchising its operation once completed.[3]

In 2015–16, TfL had a budget of £11.5 billion, 40% of which comes from fares. The rest comes from government funding (23%), borrowing (20%), Congestion Charge and other income (9%) and Crossrail funding (8%).[1]


TfL was created in 2000 as part of the Greater London Authority by the Greater London Authority Act 1999.[4] It gained most of its functions from its predecessor London Regional Transport in 2000. The first Commissioner of TfL was Bob Kiley. The first Chair was then-Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, and the first Deputy Chair was Dave Wetzel. Livingstone and Wetzel remained in office until the election of Boris Johnson as Mayor in 2008. Johnson took over as chairman, and in February 2009 fellow-Conservative Daniel Moylan was appointed as his Deputy.

TfL did not take over responsibility for the London Underground until 2003, after the controversial public-private partnership (PPP) contract for maintenance had been agreed. Management of the Public Carriage Office had previously been a function of the Metropolitan Police.

Transport for London Group Archives holds business records for TfL and its predecessor bodies and transport companies. Some early records are also held on behalf of TfL Group Archives at the London Metropolitan Archives.

After the bombings on the underground and bus systems on 7 July 2005, many staff were recognised in the 2006 New Year honours list for the work they did. They helped survivors out, removed bodies, and got the transport system up and running, to get the millions of commuters back out of London at the end of the work day. Those mentioned include Peter Hendy, who was at the time Head of Surface Transport division, and Tim O'Toole, head of the Underground division, who were both awarded CBEs.[5][6][7] Others included David Boyce, Station Supervisor, London Underground (MBE);[5] John Boyle, Train Operator, London Underground (MBE);[5] Peter Sanders, Group Station Manager, London Underground (MBE);[5] Alan Dell, Network Liaison Manager, London Buses (MBE)[5] and John Gardner, Events Planning Manager (MBE).[7]

On 1 June 2008, the drinking of alcoholic beverages was banned on Tube and London Overground trains, buses, trams, Docklands Light Railway and all stations operated by TfL across London but not those operated by other rail companies.[8][9] Carrying open containers of alcohol was also banned on public transport operated by TfL. The Mayor of London and TfL announced the ban with the intention of providing a safer and more pleasant experience for passengers. There were "Last Round on the Underground" parties on the night before the ban came into force. Passengers refusing to observe the ban may be refused travel and asked to leave the premises. The Greater London Authority reported in 2011 that assaults on London Underground staff had fallen by 15% since the introduction of the ban.[10]

TfL commissioned a survey in 2013 which showed that 15% of women using public transport in London had been the subject of some form of unwanted sexual behaviour but that 90% of incidents were not reported to the police. In an effort to reduce sexual offences and increase reporting, TfL—in conjunction with the British Transport Police, Metropolitan Police Service, and City of London Police—launched Project Guardian.[11]

In 2014, Transport for London launched the 100 years of women in transport campaign in partnership with the Department for Transport, Crossrail,[12] Network Rail,[13] Women's Engineering Society[14] and the Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS). The programme is a celebration of the significant role that women have played in transport over the past 100 years, following the centennial anniversary of the First World War, when 100,000 women entered the Transport industry to take on the responsibilities held by men who enlisted for military service.[15]


TfL is controlled by a board whose members are appointed by the Mayor of London,[16] a position held by Sadiq Khan since May 2016. The Commissioner of Transport for London reports to the Board and leads a management team with individual functional responsibilities.

The body is organised in three main directorates and corporate services, each with responsibility for different aspects and modes of transport. The three main directorates are:

TfL owns and operates the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, a museum that conserves, explores and explains London's transport system heritage over the last 200 years. It both explores the past, with a retrospective look at past days since 1800, and the present-day transport developments and upgrades.

The museum also has an extensive depot, situated at Acton, that contains material impossible to display at the central London museum, including many additional road vehicles, trains, collections of signs and advertising materials. The depot has several open weekends each year. There are also occasional heritage train runs on the Metropolitan line.

TfL has developed an electronic "Journey Planner",[18] which enables users to plan journeys by all forms of public transport and bicycle in and around London.

Operations centre

TfL's Surface Transport and Traffic Operations Centre (STTOC) was officially opened by Prince Andrew, Duke of York in November 2009.[19][20] The centre monitors and coordinates official responses to traffic congestion, incidents and major events in London.[21] London Buses Command and Control Centre (CentreComm), London Streets Traffic Control Centre (LSTCC) and the Metropolitan Police Traffic Operation Control Centre (MetroComm) were brought together under STTOC.[21]

STTOC played an important part in the security and smooth running of the 2012 Summer Olympics.[21] The London Underground Network Operations Centre is now located on the fifth floor of Palestra and not within STTOC.[22][23] The centre featured in the 2013 BBC Two documentary series The Route Masters: Running London's Roads.

Connect project

Transport for London introduced the "Connect" project for radio communications during the 2000s, to improve radio connections for London Underground staff and the emergency services.[24][25] The system replaced various separate radio systems for each tube line, and was funded under a private finance initiative. The supply contract was signed in November 1999 with Motorola as the radio provider alongside Thales. Citylink's shareholders are Thales Group (33 per cent), Fluor Corporation (18%), Motorola (10%), Laing Investment (19.5%) and HSBC (19.5%). The cost of the design, build and maintain contract was £2 billion over twenty years.
Various subcontractors were used for the installation work, including Brookvex and Fentons.

A key reasoning for the introduction of the system was in light of the King's Cross fire disaster, where efforts by the emergency services were hampered by a lack of radio coverage below ground. Work was due to be completed by the end of 2002, although suffered delays due to the necessity of installing the required equipment on an ageing railway infrastructure with no disruption to the operational railway. On 5 June 2006 the London Assembly published the 7 July Review Committee report, which urged TfL to speed up implementation of the Connect system.[24]

The East London line was chosen as the first line to receive the TETRA radio in February 2006, as it was the second smallest line and is a mix of surface and sub surface. In the same year it was rolled out to the District, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Victoria lines, with the Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Jubilee, Waterloo & City and Central lines following in 2007.[26] The final line, the Northern, was handed over in November 2008.

The 2010 TfL investment programme included the project "LU-PJ231 LU-managed Connect communications", which provided Connect with a new transmission and radio system comprising 290 cell sites with two to three base stations, 1,400 new train mobiles, 7,500 new telephone links and 180 CCTV links.[25]


Most of the transport modes that come under the control of TfL have their own charging and ticketing regimes for single fare. Buses and trams share a common fare and ticketing regime, and the DLR, Overground, Underground, and National Rail services another.

Zonal fare system

Rail service fares in the capital are calculated by a zonal fare system. London is divided into eleven fare zones, with every station on the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and, since 2007, on National Rail services, being in one, or in some cases, two zones. The zones are mostly concentric rings of increasing size emanating from the centre of London. They are (in order):


Superimposed on these mode-specific regimes is the Travelcard system, which provides zonal tickets with validities from one day to one year, and off-peak variants. These are accepted on the DLR, buses, railways, trams, and the Underground, and provide a discount on many river services fares.

Oyster card

The Oyster card is a contactless smart card system introduced for the public in 2003, which can be used to pay individual fares (pay as you go) or to carry various Travelcards and other passes. It is used by scanning the card at a yellow card reader. Such readers are found on ticket gates where otherwise a paper ticket could be fed through, allowing the gate to open and the passenger to walk through, and on stand-alone Oyster validators, which do not operate a barrier. Since 2010, Oyster Pay as you go has been available on all National Rail services within London. Oyster Pay as you go has a set of daily maximum charges that are the same as buying the nearest equivalent Day Travelcard.

Contactless payments

Contactless Visa, Maestro, MasterCard and American Express debit and credit cards issued in the UK are accepted for travel on London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway, most National Rail, London Tramlink and Bus services. This works in the same way for the passenger as an Oyster card, including the use of capping and reduced fares compared to paper tickets. The widespread use of contactless payment has meant that TfL is now one of Europe's largest contactless merchants, with around 1 in 10 contactless transactions in the UK taking place on the TfL network.[27][28]

Apple Pay

Transport for London also accepts Apple Pay in the same way as contactless payment cards.[29] The fares are the same as those charged on a debit or credit card, including the same daily capping. Since its introduction, TfL has become the most popular Apple Pay merchant following the UK launch.[30][31][32][33]

Google Pay

Google Pay can also be used across TfL's network, working in the same way as contactless cards..[34] Users can track their spending on TfL services from the app and through adding their original contactless card to their 'Contactless and Oyster' account on the TfL website.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay is also available on use on the TfL's Network working in the same way as contactless payment cards.[35] Users can track their spending on TfL services through adding their original contactless card to their 'Contactless and Oyster' account on the TfL website as well as in the Samsung Pay app. If the user has chosen a 'Transport Card' in the app and have NFC enabled on their device, no fingerprint, or verification is required to authorise a 'Tap in' or 'Tap out' of the network allowing the user to not have the screen on and still pass through the barrier.[36]

Identity and marketing

Each of the main transport units has its own corporate identity, formed by differently coloured versions of the standard roundel logo and adding appropriate lettering across the horizontal bar. The roundel rendered in blue without any lettering represents TfL as a whole (see Transport for London logo), as well as used in situations where lettering on the roundel is not possible (such as bus receipts, where a logo is a blank roundel with the name "London Buses" to the right). The same range of colours is also used extensively in publicity and on the TfL website.

Transport for London has always mounted advertising campaigns to encourage use of the Underground. For example, in 1999, they commissioned artist Stephen Whatley to paint an interior – 'The Grand Staircase' – which he did on location inside Buckingham Palace. This painting was reproduced on posters and displayed all over the London Underground.[37]

In 2010 they commissioned artist Mark Wallinger to assist them in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Underground, by creating the Labyrinth Project, with one painting to hang permanently in each of the Tube's 270 stations.[38]

In 2015, in partnership with the London Transport Museum and sponsored by Exterion Media,[39][39] TfL launched Transported by Design,[40] an 18-month programme of activities. The intention is to showcase the importance of both physical and service design across London's transport network. In October 2015, after two months of public voting, the black cab topped the list of favourite London transport icons, which also included the original Routemaster bus and the Tube map, among others.[41] In 2016, the programme is holding exhibitions,[42] walks[43] and a festival at Regent Street on 3 July.[44][45]

Advertising and human rights

In May 2019, TfL banned advertising from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates due to their poor human rights records. This brought the number of countries which the TfL banned adverts from due to them having the death penalty for homosexuals to 11. Countries previously banned from advertising were Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.[46]

See also


  1. "TfL funding".
  2. "Company information". Transport for London. 2019. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. "Our role". Transport for London. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  4. "Legislative framework". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 23 January 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  5. Alan Hamilton (16 February 2006). "It was all just part of the job, say honoured 7/7 heroes". The Times. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  6. "Queen hails brave 7 July workers". BBC News. 15 February 2006. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  7. "Two TfL July 7 heroes honoured in New Years List". Transport for London. 2 January 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  8. "Revellers' farewell to Tube alcohol". Metro. 1 June 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  9. "Johnson bans drink on transport". BBC News. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  10. "Londoners continue to back Mayor's booze ban". Greater London Authority. 5 May 2011. Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  11. Bates, Laura (1 October 2013). "Project Guardian: making public transport safer for women". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  12. "Crossrail partners with Women into Construction".
  13. "100 Years of Women in Transport – Women's Engineering Society".
  14. "The first 100 years of women in transport".
  15. "Board members". Transport for London. 2013. Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  16. "Freight". Transport for London. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  17. "Journey Planner". Transport for London. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  18. "HRH The Duke of York opens state of the art transport control centre". Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  19. "Duke of York opens TfL control centre at Palestra in Blackfriars Road". Archived from the original on 13 September 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  20. "Evidence for Transport Committee's investigation into 2012 transport" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  21. "Transport for London Board Agenda Item 5, 2 November 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  22. "Southwark chosen for LUL command and control centre". Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  23. "TfL keeps schtum on underground radio plans". The Register. 6 June 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  24. "TfL investment programme – London Underground" (PDF). Transport for London. 2010. p. 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  25. "Response from the Chief Engineers' Directorate of London Underground to the OFCOM Consultative Document "Spectrum Trading Consultation"" (PDF). Ofcom. November 2003. p. 10. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  26. Matters, Transport for London | Every Journey. "Licencing London's contactless ticketing system". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  27. "Contactless and mobile pay as you go". Transport for London. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  28. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. Mortimer, Natalie (20 July 2015). "TfL proves most popular retailer on Apple Pay UK following launch". The Drum. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  30. Titcomb, James (20 July 2015). "How London's transport crunch forged a contactless revolution". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  31. Gibbs, Samuel (16 July 2015). "TfL cautions users over pitfalls of Apple Pay". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  32. "Apple Pay". Transport for London. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  33. "Google Pay". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 11 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  34. Transport for London. "Samsung Pay". Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  35. "Frequently Asked Questions". Samsung uk. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  36., London Transport Museum, 39 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7BB,. "Artist: Stephen B Whatley – Poster and poster artwork collection, London Transport Museum".CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  37. Mark Brown (7 February 2013). "Tube celebrates 150th birthday with labyrinth art project". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  38. "Exterion Media sponsors TfL". 17 September 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  39. Transport for London. "Transported by Design". Archived from the original on 17 April 2016.
  40. "Vote Now For London's Best Transport Design Icon". 2 September 2015.
  41. "London Transport Museum Opens New 'London By Design' Gallery". 1 November 2015.
  42. "Winter Wanders".
  43. "TfL announces plans for Regent Street design festival".
  44. "2016 on Regent Street".
  45. "Transport for London suspends adverts from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates due to poor human rights". 2 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
Preceded by
London Regional Transport
Transport for London
Succeeded by

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