Sadiq Khan pledges new TfL London bus company to bring routes back into public ownership

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Sadiq Khan says he is also making a case for the Bakerloo Line Extension, West London Orbital rail, DLR extension to Thamesmead and Crossrail 2 if re-elected on May 2.

Sadiq Khan has pledged to establish a new London bus company, which would bring some of the capital’s 675 routes into public ownership, if re-elected as mayor of London.

Currently the capital’s bus network is operated by 16 privately-run bus companies. Mr Khan says once contracts on routes came to an end, they would be reviewed to decide whether to bring them under the new public operator.

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Labour says the move would see the vast majority of services returning to public ownership for the first time since 1994.

Mr Khan said the plan would offer "better value for money, consistency and service to all Londoners and visitors to the city and would also provide stability and certainty if operators were to fail during their existing contracts".

The move follows an announcement by Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh that a future Labour administration would “remove the Tory government’s ban on publicly owned bus companies”.

Currently the Bus Services Act 2017, while allowing some re-regulation for regions outside London, puts obstacles in the way of creating a publicly owned bus operator.

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Sadiq Khan has pledged to bring London's buses back under public ownershipSadiq Khan has pledged to bring London's buses back under public ownership
Sadiq Khan has pledged to bring London's buses back under public ownership

The Labour incumbent has also pledged to push government for funding for a number of transport projects if re-elected, including the West London Orbital, an 11-mile extension to the London Overground network running from Hounslow to Hendon and West Hampstead. Mr Khan has also pledged to make the case for the extension of the DLR to Thamesmead, the extension of the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham, and a second phase extending to Hayes and Beckenham Junction.

He would also push for Crossrail 2, which would run from Hertfordshire to Surrey and link north and south London.

Mr Khan has said these long term projects had been put on hold due to the lack of funding from the government.

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Earlier this month, Mr Khan announced plans for a Superloop-style ‘Bakerloop’ express bus route, kitted out in brown Bakerloo line livery, which will track the route of the proposed Bakerloo line extension while work on it progresses.

Mr Khan’s Tory rival Susan Hall nicknamed the policy as a “Blunderloop”. 

“This Blunderloop is yet another Superflop from Sadiq Khan. Instead of delivering the much needed Bakerloo line extension, Sadiq Khan has decided to settle for a bus,” she said.

Mr Khan said: “Delivering the next generation of major transport projects in London will of course require a partnership with the central government. But if re-elected I will keep arguing the overwhelming case for the Bakerloo Line Extension, the West London Orbital and DLR extension to Thamesmead.

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“I’m also delighted to confirm today that if re-elected I will work with a Labour government to review bringing London’s bus routes – currently operated by 16 different private companies – back into public ownership. This will help guarantee consistency and value for money for all London’s bus passengers in the long term.”

On May 2 Londoners will go to the polls to vote for which of 13 candidates will be mayor of London for the next four years.

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