Letter: Tube needs cash, not a shake-up

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am surprised at your leading article (26 February) arguing that privatisation may be the way forward for London Underground.

London Underground is not simply a metropolitan version of the old British Rail, weighed down by outdated practices and unimaginative management. It already has in place the flexible work patterns that the newly privatised rail companies are introducing. For some years now its management has been making a cogent case for the expansion of the Underground.

We must not allow the congested rush-hour conditions - which is all many people experience - to blind us to the fact that the Underground provides Londoners with a solid service from the early morning until well past midnight: the trains are frequent, fast, and usually reliable.

The spectacular structural failings that take place from time to time have nothing to do with management or staff attitudes: they are simply a legacy of years of under-investment.

The way forward is not to get bogged down in the disruptive process of privatisation, but for the next government to ensure that London Underground is able to get sufficient money, from both public and private sources, to enable it to run a modern metro which can play an important role in cutting the congestion on the capital's roads.

JOHN STEWART

Chair, Alarm UK

London E3

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