Transport for London (TfL) says it is “confident” it can get rid of nearly £1billion worth of debt by 2022.

Earlier today the London Assembly met with TfL bosses to grill them on how they were planning to turn loses of nearly £1 billion into a profit.

Addressing members of the assembly, Simon Kilonback, chief finance officer for TfL said: “Since the mayoral election in 2016 we knew there would be a deficit in 2018 and through the years we have been putting measures in place to get rid of it

“We have a rigorous process to turn the deficit around and we have a ‘high-level’ plan to deliver this.

“We maintain that the best thing to do is to run on a deficit in order to operate a safe and efficient service before making a profit.”

In a bid to get rid of this debt the transport body said they would be increasing their income from passenger fares.

But members of the assembly were dubious that these plans would work.

Not only has there been a fall in TfL’s passenger numbers over the last year but when Sadiq Khan became mayor he froze a number of transport fares.

These included freezing all bus and pay as you go fares on the Tube and DLR services which TfL said make up 70 per cent of public transport journeys in London.

Leonie Cooper, Labour party assembly member was the first to raise her concerns about this.

She said: “Since Mr Khan came into power the cost of the fare freeze to TfL has been £640 million.”

Mr Kilonback reassured her that this would not be increasing this year.

Green party assembly member Sian Berry also asked whether TfL would be publishing the cost of this fare freeze at the end of the mayor term in 2020.

But Shashi Verma, director of customer experience at TfL seemed uncertain.

Mr Verma said: “This would be very complicated to do because of the shift in the way people buy tickets now – moving to contactless payments and away from travel cards.”

Conservative assembly member, Susan Hall, also raised concerns that an increase in walking and cycling in the capital could threaten the money TfL got from its customers.

Mr Kilonback responded: “Cycling doesn’t hit TfL income, there are 134m cycling trips versus 4.3 billion public transport trips. Every person who takes up cycling creates space on the tube which are filled by someone else.”

Despite doubts TfL was adamant they would be able to overcome their deficit.

They also predicted that the new Elizabeth line, which will open in December, will generate a revenue of £151 million in the first fourth months of its opening.

The transport body also announced steps to cut its spending by £1.2 billion by 2022.

These steps include stopping road renewals; buying new trains which and cutting bus services by 7 per cent over the next five years.