Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Boris angry with Tube PPP deal

TORY London mayor Boris Johnson last Tuesday declared the performance of the PPP company Tube Lines, contracted to upgrade the infrastructure of the London Underground, as “unacceptable”.
The public-private partnership (PPP) deal that was opposed by his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, but imposed by the Government is failing London’s travelling public.
Johnson said delays on a major underground railway route were "unacceptable" after doubts were raised that work on its upgrade would not be completed by its end of year deadline.
Tube Lines, and its key shareholder Bechtel, are carrying out a £500 million-upgrade of the Jubilee Line under the PPP deal.
The line has suffered full or part closures every weekend this year, causing havoc for commuters travelling to the busy Canary Wharf financial district and music-goers attending the O2 arena in Greenwich, south-east London.
"Tube Lines must get its act together if Londoners are to benefit from faster, more frequent and reliable services on the Jubilee Line," Johnson said. "I am hugely frustrated at their progress to date, which is simply unacceptable."
The mayor appoints the board of Transport for London (TfL), the body responsible for most of the city's transport system.
Tube Lines had initially promised to complete the work by June, and despite being one of London's newest Underground lines, it was granted an additional 12 weekends to meet its 31st December contractual deadline, (TfL) said.
Then in the summer, Tube Lines asked for another six weekends of closures. One weekend has been granted, but TfL is reluctant to grant the other five, saying it needs an independent review to restore confidence.
"Tube Lines' hunger for more Jubilee Line closures has stretched the patience of Londoners and business almost to breaking point," Johnson added. "Before we can consider any more disruption, we must have confidence they will deliver."
Financial penalties will kick in if the deadline is missed, adding up to several million pounds a month.

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