Ex-Mayor Livingstone

DLR lost £80 million last year


In August of last year, shortly after TfL published its annual report, I had a look at TfL’s finances and ConservativeHome were kind enough to publish the results here.

At the time I really could not understand the numbers for the Docklands Light Railway so I did not talk about them. I pointed out that TfL loses 30p every time someone takes a bus and loses 55p every time someone takes a Tube. It now appears that the equivalent number for DLR is £1.28. Aaaagh! Click on the table below to enlarge it.


The picture is similar to the rest of TfL. Although fares have increased rapidly costs have increased even faster ensuring that ever greater amounts of subsidy are required. There are almost 2 billion bus journeys a year in London and a billion Tube journeys so the DLR is relatively small beer weighing in at 60 million journeys. Luckily it is not much bigger as they made a loss of £78.5 million.

As I pointed out in August the buses are losing £617 million a year and the Tube £553 million. What is true of all three modes of transport is that their costs are too high and the Mayor does not collect fares from all of the passengers. Note that the Mayor only has to collect £2.15 per journey to make the thing break even. Even better he might bear down harder on costs and make the thing affordable whilst still covering its costs.

You might ask why am I bringing this up now. Well, I first wrote to the Mayor on 2nd August to get these figures and it has taken the best part of six months to get a proper response. It took almost 3 weeks for the Mayor’s office to forward my letter to TfL. It took almost 2 months to get a rubbish response out of TfL and over 3 months to get a decent response today. The Mayor is also chairman of TfL so it is not as if he is not the right person to write to. I can only assume that he is being difficult.

Whilst I enjoyed this evening’s Dispatches programme and its dissection of the Mayor’s time in office you can see why it was relatively short on numbers – the Mayor goes to some lengths to conceal them.

If you want to read TfL’s original document click here.

3 replies on “DLR lost £80 million last year”

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