`Intolerable Tube conditions must improve'

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The Independent Online
LONDON UNDERGROUND has been ordered to ease "intolerable conditions" for travellers on the Tube caused by repairs.

Helen Liddell, the Transport minister told Denis Tunnicliffe, chief executive of London Transport, that she was unhappy about the "disruption and distress" being caused by work on the Tube and said passengers had to come first. The two met in London yesterday, the day after it was reported that passengers on trains were enduring temperatures approaching 100F - higher than the 86F maximum legal limit for transporting animals.

Mr Tunnicliffe was asked to meet the minister to discuss disruption caused by engineering work.

Underground passengers are currently having to cope with closure of the entire Circle line until mid-August.

A section of the Northern line between Moorgate in the City and Kennington in south London will be closed for the next nine weeks.

Ms Liddell said after the half-hour meeting: "I made clear that I was unhappy that London Underground was causing such disruption and distress to passengers and reminded Mr Tunnicliffe of the need to put passengers first.

"Investing to modernise the Tube is essential and some disruption cannot be avoided.

"But Tube managers must do everything they can to avoid any unnecessary disruption and ease intolerable conditions whilst carrying out repair works and improvements.

"They must also keep passengers fully informed."

A spokeswoman for London Transport said the meeting had been cordial.

"Our attitude is that we share the minister's concerns and we always try to put passengers first," she said. "We don't want to inconvenience passengers but, as she was the first to acknowledge, the work has to be done."

A Department of Transport spokeswoman said the meeting concentrated on delays caused by repairs and there had been no discussion about temperatures on trains.

But the discomfort for travellers is set to continue over the next few days, say weather forecasters.

Temperatures in London were 24C (75F) yesterday, slightly down from 26C (79F), on Thursday.

Today temperatures are expected to creep up into the low eighties and then slip back into the high seventies on Monday.