London business chiefs called for a government rescue of the city’s subway, which is seeking a 5.8 billion-pound bailout ($7.5 billion) after the coronavirus outbreak led to a collapse in commuter travel that sent revenues plunging.
The U.K. capital risks grinding to a halt without swift funding for Transport for London, which also runs the London Overground and Docklands Light Railway, 34 executives including the heads ofHeathrow Airport,British Land Co. andCanary Wharf Group said in a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
“We want to remind all parties that the stakes are extremely high for the future of London and the U.K.,” the letter said. “London’s transport network is critical national infrastructure and TfL must have sufficient funding for both its operations, at normal service levels, and their maintenance.”
London’s 150-year-old subway has become a focus for political tension, with Sadiq Khan, the city’s Labour mayor, who oversees TfL, pressing for a financing package whileordering a review of long-term funding options. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a Conservative, has said the authority is inefficiently run and that reforms such as driver-less Tube trains should be part of any package.
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