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Jubilee misery has cost £12m in lost ticket sales sales

PUBLISHED: 10:57 14 October 2010

West End Lane, West Hampstead.

West End Lane, West Hampstead.

Jonathan Goldberg 07958 229 037

MORE than £12million has been lost in ticket revenues due to the ongoing Jubilee line suspensions, it has been revealed.

Yet the cost of delays and repeated weekend closures on the line are just a small part of the total revenue lost across London because of engineering works and come on top of the financial impact on businesses along the route.

West Hampstead traders said this week that the closures had hurt them more than the recession.

Their comments came as London Mayor Boris Johnson said he was still unable to give a completion date for the scheme – already delayed by more than a year.

Trader James Gregory, who owns a shop and a bar near the West Hampstead tube station, said: “We have all suffered terribly over a ridiculous period of time and, more than anything, it is the lack of clarity on the situation which is incredibly annoying.

“I do not know any other situation where a contractor could get away with this. The most frustrating thing is not being told the truth about the schedule.

“When I spoke to the workers last year, they predicted it would not be finished until around 2012, which will probably be the case.

“It has caused massive disruption and trouble for us and it has been worse than the recession.”

The Jubilee line upgrade – carried out by Tube Lines until it was taken over by Transport for London in June – has been beset by problems since the outset.

The scheme was originally due to finish in September last year. It was first delayed until the Spring, then May and finally October but there is still no finishing date in sight.

Despite protests from residents and traders up and down the line, the frequent weekend closures still continue, causing chaos and destroying small businesses.

Jitendra Thakorlal is the former chairman of the West Hampstead traders’ association, which organised a petition against the closures.

He said: “I am not surprised but it is a staggering amount of money they have lost.

“The contractors should have been sued a long time ago. It is ridiculous. Shops have already closed in West Hampstead and more are really suffering.

“It is so frustrating that they cannot give a completion date and traders cannot plan around that.

“It just goes on and on and gets longer and longer and it is extremely difficult, especially given the economic circumstances, which are hard enough.”

The saga has cost TfL between £10 and £12million in lost ticket sales, questions to the Mayor from Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon revealed.

Ms Pidgeon said: “In addition to the misery faced by passengers who simply wish to travel around London, the fiasco of never ending weekend closures has hit many businesses for six.

“It now only adds insult to injury to discover that, in addition to the cost already paid by passengers and businesses, there has also been such a serious loss in revenue for Transport for London.

“Such a loss will inevitably feed into either higher fares or reduced investment in key transport projects, with the passenger again losing out.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “Since we acquired Tubes Lines earlier this year, we have been working to fully understand the state of the Jubilee line upgrade that we inherited.

“It was immediately clear that the schedule which Tube Lines was working to did not represent a clear and realistic path to delivering the upgrade and we have been working flat out to develop a programme for completion that is achievable and does not result in more disruption for passengers.

“Usage of the line has been reduced by around two per cent since the start of the weekend closures, which is equivalent to around £10m to £12m reduction in revenue. However, some of this would have been recouped when passengers transferred to other modes of TfL transport.

“In July, we confirmed that it would take several more months to complete the upgrade from the work left by Tube Lines and as a result, delivery could fall in to next year.”


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