All aboard TfL gravy train: Huge rise in Transport for London staff earning more than £100,000

More than 1,300 staff at Transport for London received salaries and bonuses totalling more than £100,000 in the most recent year, it can be revealed.

A total of 1,319 people earned a six-figure package in 2023/24 - up 72 per cent on the 766 whose earnings exceeded £100,000 in the previous financial year.

TfL said this was largely due to two years of bonuses being paid last year. These had been held back until it was confirmed that TfL, which runs the capital’s Tube and bus network and the ultra-low emission zone, had achieved “financial sustainability” after the pandemic.

Earlier this week it was revealed that TfL had made its first-ever “operating surplus”, of £138m, in 2023/24, which Mayor Sadiq Khan described as a “remarkable achievement”.

The money is ploughed back into TfL but the organisation remains reliant on Government help for major schemes, such as the long-awaited signalling upgrade on the Piccadilly line or hopes of extending the Bakerloo line and the DLR into south-east London.

The bonus period includes the opening of the Elizabeth line – now the busiest rail line in the country – and the recovery from the depths of lockdown, when Tube passenger numbers fell below five per cent of normal. Journeys are now at 88 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

The highest earner was Andy Lord, the TfL commissioner, who received a total package of £525,770, including £424,416 in salary and allowances in lieu of opting out of the TfL pension scheme, plus £99,204 in performance-related pay that related to his previous role as chief operating officer. His base salary as commissioner is £395,000.

Stuart Harvey, the chief capital officer, received £497,063, including £159,296 in bonuses – the largest sum awarded as performance-related pay.

Rachel McLean, the chief finance officer, received £375,231, including £71,434 in bonuses. Alex Williams, the chief customer and strategy officer, who oversaw the Londonwide expansion of the Ulez last August, received £358,958, including £49,303 in bonuses.

Howard Smith, director of the Elizabeth line, received £254,591, including £53,267 in bonuses. Shashi Verma, the chief technology officer who has overseen the roll-out of 4G and 5G on the Tube, received £290,705, including £55,350 in bonuses.

Almost 1,000 of those who received six-figure sums earned between £100,000 and £125,000.

TfL has a total staff of about 28,000. Of these, 352 have a basic salary of £100,000 or more.

TfL said specialist engineers had their pay boosted by working overnight and at weekends, including on preliminary works for the Piccadilly line upgrade and signalling upgrades on the Circle, District, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City lines.

The bonuses were triggered last year when TfL was judged to have exceeded 60 per cent of targets in a performance “scorecard” target that includes measures of passenger satisfaction.

Kay Carberry, chair of TfL’s remuneration committee, said: “TfL has made great progress on recovering its finances that were decimated by the pandemic, and met its target this year of being financially sustainable in terms of its day-to-day operations.”

Neil Garratt, Tory group leader on the London Assembly, said: “As Londoners continue to struggle with the cost of living, including the Mayor’s further hike in Council Tax this year, many will be in utter disbelief that there are now more than 1300 staff earning over £100,000 a year at TfL, with many receiving huge bonuses. London’s transport system needs serious, long-term investment – not more lavishly paid bureaucrats hired and then rewarded by this Mayor.

“From tubes, to buses, to roads, many journeys have got slower and are now plagued with issues. With substantial delays on the Central Line, ancient Bakerloo trains beyond end of life and now faulty trams in Croydon, many Londoners will quite rightly feel that the hundreds of millions of pounds spent on extra management could be far better spent on upgrading our city’s transport network.”A TfL spokesperson said: “TfL is a complex £9bn billion a year organisation that is central to the success of London and the UK.

“The number of employees listed as earning more than £100,000 in 2023/24 cannot be meaningfully compared to 2022/23 because, as a result of delivering operational financial stability for the first time in TfL’s history, TfL was able to pay performance awards that had been paused the previous year.”

Benchmarking by TfL’s remuneration committee has found that base salaries are “significantly below” those earned by executives in comparable industries.

Chris Weston, chief executive of Thames Water, has an annual salary of £850,000, plus bonuses. Mark Thurston, HS2’s former chief executive, earned £676,000 in 2022-23, including a £39,000 bonus.

Elliot Keck, head of campaigns at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Londoners will be livid at the shocking surge in the number of TfL fat cats at a time improvements to the network have been delayed or abandoned.”