Transport for London
Area of responsibility within England
|Formation||3 July 2000 (Greater London Authority Act 1999)|
|Legal status||Executive agency within GLA|
|Mayor of London|
|Greater London Authority (GLA)|
|2015–16: £11.5 billion (40% of this from fares)|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
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.
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%).
TfL was created in 2000 as part of the Greater London Authority by the Greater London Authority Act 1999. 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. Others included David Boyce, Station Supervisor, London Underground (MBE); John Boyle, Train Operator, London Underground (MBE); Peter Sanders, Group Station Manager, London Underground (MBE); Alan Dell, Network Liaison Manager, London Buses (MBE) and John Gardner, Events Planning Manager (MBE).
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. 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.
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.
In 2014, Transport for London launched the 100 years of women in transport campaign in partnership with the Department for Transport, Crossrail, Network Rail, Women's Engineering Society 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.
TfL is controlled by a board whose members are appointed by the Mayor of London, 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:
- London Underground, responsible for running London's underground rail network, commonly known as the tube, and managing the provision of maintenance services by the private sector. This network is sub-divided into different service delivery units:
- London Underground
- TfL Rail, which consists of those National Rail services which will in the future be incorporated into Crossrail. Operation is undertaken by MTR Crossrail, a private-sector concessionaire, and maintenance by Network Rail.
- Surface Transport, consisting of:
- Docklands Light Railway (DLR): this is the automatically-driven light rail network in East and South London, although actual operation and maintenance is undertaken by a private-sector concessionaire (a joint venture of Keolis and Amey).
- London Buses, responsible for managing the red bus network throughout London and two branded services, the Red Arrow and East London Transit, largely by contracting services to various private sector bus operators. Incorporating CentreComm, London Buses Command & Control Centre, a 24-hour Emergency Control Centre based in Southwark.
- London Dial-a-Ride, which provides community transport services throughout London.
- London Overground, which consists of certain suburban National Rail services within London. Operation is undertaken by Arriva Rail London, a private-sector concessionaire, and maintenance by Network Rail.
- London River Services, responsible for licensing and co-ordinating passenger services on the River Thames within London.
- London Streets, responsible for the management of London's strategic road network.
- London Trams, responsible for managing London's tram network, by contracting to private sector operators. At present the only tram system is Tramlink in South London, contracted to FirstGroup, but others are proposed.
- London congestion charge which drivers who drive in Central London between Monday and Friday must pay a fee.
- Public Carriage Office, responsible for licensing the famous black cabs and other private hire vehicles.
- Victoria Coach Station, which owns and operates London's principal terminal for long distance bus and coach services.
- "Delivery Planning" which promotes cycling in London, including the construction of Cycle Superhighways.
- "Special Projects Team" manages the contract with Serco for the Santander Cycles bike rental scheme.
- Walking, which promotes better pedestrian access and better access for walking in London.
- London Road Safety Unit, which promotes safer roads through advertising and road safety measure.
- Community Safety, Enforcement and Policing, responsible for tackling fare evasion on buses, delivering policing services that tackle crime and disorder on public transport in co-operation with the Metropolitan Police Service's Transport Operational Command Unit (TOCU) and the British Transport Police.
- Traffic Enforcement, responsible for enforcing traffic and parking regulations on the red routes.
- Freight Unit, which has developed the "London Freight Plan" and is involved with setting up and supporting a number of Freight Quality Partnerships covering key areas of London.
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's Surface Transport and Traffic Operations Centre (STTOC) was officially opened by Prince Andrew, Duke of York in November 2009. The centre monitors and coordinates official responses to traffic congestion, incidents and major events in London. 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.
STTOC played an important part in the security and smooth running of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The London Underground Network Operations Centre is now located on the fifth floor of Palestra and not within STTOC. The centre featured in the 2013 BBC Two documentary series The Route Masters: Running London's Roads.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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 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.
Transport for London also accepts Apple Pay in the same way as contactless payment cards. 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.
Google Pay can also be used across TfL's network, working in the same way as contactless cards.. 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 is also available on use on the TfL's Network working in the same way as contactless payment cards. 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.
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.
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.
In 2015, in partnership with the London Transport Museum and sponsored by Exterion Media, TfL launched Transported by Design, 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. In 2016, the programme is holding exhibitions, walks and a festival at Regent Street on 3 July.
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.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Transport for London.|
- Official website
- London Group of Campaign for Better Transport
- London TravelWatch
- Transport for London companies grouped at OpenCorporates
London Regional Transport
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