Future bleak for tube company
LONDON ASSEMBLY Member Brian Coleman told a meeting on Monday he fears Tube Lines will go down the pan the same way as Metronet. The Barnet councillor was at a meeting on transport issues organised by Conservative parliamentary candidate Ch
LONDON ASSEMBLY Member Brian Coleman told a meeting on Monday he fears Tube Lines will go down the pan the same way as Metronet.
The Barnet councillor was at a meeting on transport issues organised by Conservative parliamentary candidate Chris Philp for the residents of West Hampstead, who are suffering heavily during the weekend closures of the Jubilee line.
Metronet went bankrupt in 2007 halfway through the upgrade of the Victoria line leaving Transport for London (TfL) to pick up the pieces and the enormous bill.
Cllr Coleman told the audience when they asked the representative of London Underground about the possibility of getting a refund because of the poor service: "The truth of the situation is that there is a �3billion black hole in the finances of Transport for London.
"That has led to postponed capital investments such as step free access. The PPP contract which everyone opposed at the time apart from the Prime Minister is a complicated agreement.
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"You can take money from Tube Lines as a fine but they will get it back elsewhere. If push came to shove Tube Lines will do the same thing as Metronet and go bankrupt and if that happens we the taxpayers will pick up the whole bill.
"In my view Tube Lines will go the same way as Metronet did and the London taxpayer will pick up the bill. I fear if we are not careful this will happen and it will be the government's fault."
At the meeting residents demanded better coordination of the tube and train closures so they are not left isolated at the weekends, especially with the Northern line upgrade starting in March.
The programme of closures for the Northern line is yet to be finalised by Tube Lines and Transport for London but it is expected to run for at least 16 months and involve line closures and early closing.
Tube Lines asked for 82 part weekend closures and extended engineering hours north of Kennington from 11.30pm between Monday and Thursday and said it needs these to finish the work on time.
TfL has given them the extended hours but only 16 partial weekend closures.
A TfL spokesman said: "Lon-don Underground is obliged to allow access to Tube Lines. However, we and the Mayor are calling on Tube Lines and its shareholders to think innovatively, think again and urgently review its Northern line programme to minimise disruption and delay to London's Tube passengers and businesses."
A Tube Lines spokeswoman said: "As much as everyone would like to not have to close the lines early or at the weekends it is absolutely critical - there is no other way. We are trying to work with London Underground to finalise a closure programme that causes the least disruption to passengers but also enables us to get on with the work. It is a two-way conversation between us and London Underground.