Labour’s London mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, would allow Transport for London to bid for bus and rail contracts in the UK and abroad




Could Transport for London soon be bidding to operate buses in Greater Manchester and other cities, in the UK and abroad?

Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate in this year’s London mayoral election raised this prospect when he said this week he would allow Transport for London to bid for bus and rail contracts. He said that he would use the profits generated from these activities to subsidise fares in the capital.

Writing in The Evening Standard, the former transport minister said: “State-owned companies from France, Germany and Holland run train and bus services across the UK. They reinvest the profits to keep fares down in their home countries. I’ll capitalise on TfL’s global reputation as one of the world’s finest transport authorities by setting up a bidding team in TfL so Londoners can get the same benefits.

“We should be running buses and trains across the UK and the rest of the world – selling expertise and skills to the public and private sector, and seeing other cities’ buses and trains branded with London’s famous roundel.”

London Underground is the only operation that is directly operated by TfL. Bus, tram and train services are tendered out.

In contrast, state-owned companies play a major role in operating UK public transport. RATP Dev, a subsidiary of TfL’s opposite number in Paris, RATP, operates around 11% of London’s buses as well as Manchester’s Metrolink light rail system.

The move comes at a time when UK cities are being offered bus franchising in new devolution deals, potentially opening up bidding opportunities for TfL.


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

DON’T MISS OUT – GET YOUR COPY! – click here to subscribe!