According to the lead article in today’s London Evening Standard, we are facing weekend tube chaos until 2012 right up until 21 July, 2012. This will mean that Londoners have not had a full weekend tube service for 46 months. In fact, the only time London Underground has been able to run a full weekend service in recent years has been 29/30 December, 2007 and prior to that, the previous date was 30/31 December,2006.
So who is to blame? TfL is appointing the blame at the failure of Metronet and Tubelines who between them where responsible to £10 billion worth of upgrades to the network – this failed. Both Labour and Conservative have shouldered the blame for the failures – at a local and central government level. Ken Livingstone fought against the privatisation of the maintenance and this was imposed bu the Labour Government. So is Labour to blame for this?
No, we need to look back further at the Thatcher period of government, during which time the subsidies to London Transport (as it was) where slashed year upon year. This resulted in little if no maintenance to the infrastructure of the network leaving us with a legacy of out dated signalling systems, tracks which where in need of replacement and rolling stock that was in dire need of modernisation, to name but a few of the issues.
In this time of austerity, should we expect an increase in the funding from central government?
In my view, yes, if they are committed to maintaining their supposed ‘green’ credentials.
Should the current mayor be doing more?
Yes – he needs to take immediate control of the entire infrastructure and management chain, and fight tooth and nail for the funding which is required to provide 21st century London with a 21st century network. We used to have an underground that was a world leader, now it is seemingly a world follower-up.
Interestingly, whilst the network is in what is viewed by some as chaos, LUL has found £60M to soend on legal advice!
Worth noting is, that in the same edition of the Standard, on page 28, is an article about the new fashion of ‘pop up’ restaurants.
The link to the Underground? LUL bosses have told the owners of one of these new restaurants to change the name of their restaurant or else! Apparently the Underground Restaurant is devaluing the brand of London Underground. So, the £60M has now been added to with LUL bosses taking more legal advice.
Wake up – the devaluation has occurred through the poor management and stewardship of your organisation, not from a fashionable restaurant. The public have lost confidence in the Mayor of London and LUL/TfL’s management of the network. Focus on what is needed – a network which works. Not some of the time and while it is understandable that there will be things that happen from time to time, beyond your control which means you cannot operate a 100% service, but lets aim high shall we?
Londoners NEED, no Londoners DEMAND a weekend underground service.
We pay one of the highest costs per journey in Europe but for what? A replacement bus service? 20 minute delays? Trains being full beyond bursting point (noteworthy that sheep or cattle would not be permitted to travel in such cramped conditions – even though they are generally on a one way journey to become next the forthcoming weekend Sunday roast)? Enough is enough.
The next Mayor of London will be elected on their transport policy – nothing else.