Transport for London bosses spent an average of £13 a day on work-related taxi journeys around the capital during the first three months of the year.
Over the 90 days of January, February and March, TfL chief officers caught 84 taxis paid for out of the public purse, racking up a bill of £1,185.
Spending a similar amount in each quarter of the year would add to nearly £5,000, over twice the cost of an annual zones 1-6 Travelcard. And the daily average of £13 could buy daily unlimited travel in zones 1 and 2 nearly two times over.
Almost all the journeys were claimed for by transport commissioner Peter Hendy, according to a document of chief officers’ expenses, published for the first time today.
But TfL said this did not mean the journeys were all made exclusively by him.
“It is practice for the most senior member of staff present at functions, often the transport commissioner, to generally meet the expense on those occasions when it is appropriate for the expenditure to be reclaimed in accordance with the business expenses policy,” a statement said.
A spokeswoman for TfL defended the taxi claims - which range in value from £5 to £25 with an average cost of £14 - and said TfL chiefs use public transport “whenever they can”.
She added: “Sir Peter Hendy travels to and from work by public transport he also regularly uses public transport when travelling in the capital on business.
“He is overseeing the delivery of a ten-year multi-billion pound budget to deliver the upgrade of the Tube and Crossrail and there are occasions when his full schedule and late hours necessitate the use of taxis.”
TfL also announced today they plan to publish an account of chief officers’ expenses quarterly from now on. Today’s release was the first time such information had been published.
Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat chair of the London Assembly’s transport committee, said: “Transport for London is a publicly funded body which should be accountable to Londoners.
“It is long overdue that the expenses of its chief officers are published.”