Transport for London’s bailout funding has been extended for another seven weeks to keep the capital’s rail, bus and Tube services running until 18 May.
With the coronavirus crisis having prompted a collapse in passenger numbers, TfL has been forced to rely on government funding.
A £1.6bn bailout was agreed in May last year, followed by a £1.8bn deal in November which had been due to expire on 31 March.
TfL has now accepted an extension of that agreement on the same terms until after May’s local elections, at which London mayor Sadiq Khan is hoping to be elected for another term.
As COVID lockdown restrictions are eased over the next few weeks, the government and TfL have also both vowed to work on a new deal in May.
London transport chiefs have been calling for a long-term funding agreement to help the capital’s network recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Mr Khan, who chairs TfL, said: “This seven-week extension will enable TfL to carry on running the safe, reliable and frequent services that will be vital as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.
“These discussions will continue as it is essential that TfL has further financial support and a long-term capital funding deal that will allow it to support a strong and robust recovery for London and the UK.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As the roadmap is now rolling out I’ve agreed to extend the existing TfL emergency funding on the same terms as before.
“This will keep vital services running for Londoners until we agree a new deal in May when we’ll be in a better position to know about passenger numbers.”
Mr Khan has previously said a hike in travel fares across the capital this month was due to ministers insisting on rises as part of the emergency funding deal.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The government is committed to supporting London’s transport network through the pandemic and has already provided more than £3bn in emergency funding to TfL.
“The road map set out by the prime minister to cautiously and safely reopen society and our economy means we can better understand the potential recovery in passenger demand, ensuring we deliver a sensible and appropriate deal in the future.
“The government and the mayor of London have therefore agreed to roll over the existing funding deal for TfL until May 18 on the same terms as now, providing certainty over the pre-election period.”
The London mayoral election will be held on 6 May.