Running of the Tube 'inadequate' three years into PPP

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The Independent Online

Basic day-to-day maintenance of the Tube network is still inadequate three years after it was taken over by private contractors, according to a damning report published yesterday.

Station refurbishment programmes are behind schedule, parts of the track have not been maintained properly, unnecessary speed restrictions have had to be imposed and performance on some lines remains unacceptable, says the report by London Underground into the Public Private Partnership.

Tim O'Toole, the managing director of LU, said the two PPP contractors, Metronet and Tube Lines, "continue to disappoint in many respects" and had to begin delivering improvements at a faster rate than seen so far.

The two companies are making annual profits of more than £80m from the Tube PPP but Mr O'Toole said three years into the contracts, "basic day-to-day maintenance of the trains, tracks and signalling systems is still not good enough and must improve".

The report singles out Metronet, which is responsible for the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria and all subsurface lines, for failing to deliver on its station renewal programme and maintain the District line to LU standards. Tube Lines, which is in charge of the Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines, is criticised for failing to maintain the Northern line to acceptable standards.

Since the PPP began, London Underground has paid Tube Lines and Metronet £3.3bn. Last year they were fined a total of £4.3m for failure to meet targets.