Give London a world-class Tube: Letter

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The Independent Online
Sir: Hamish McRae's article on reducing London's dependence on the Tube is seductive, but dangerous ("All change for our urban way of travel", 19 July).

I agree that there will be a revival of walking and cycling, and so we do need to change the way we use road space to make that easier and safer and more enjoyable. We also need a big improvement in conditions for travel by bus. However, the danger is that developments of this kind are used as an excuse to avoid making investment in upgrading and improving the Tube and rail systems that serve London.

If London is to retain and enhance its position as a world-class city for residents, visitors and businesses alike, it must have a world-class transport system. An essential element is a short-term increase in funding for London Transport to catch up on the backlog of renewal needed to the existing system. With this, by early in the new millennium, there could be a reduction in public funding as operating profits increase.

Finally, London's international competitiveness depends greatly on its public services operating reliably and efficiently. We cannot afford to be on strike. The Tube and postal services may have a virtual monopoly in London, but London does not have a monopoly among world cities. Business will be lost if these disputes are not resolved now.


Director of Transport

London First

London SW1