Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tube Summit

This afternoon I joined other politicians for a meeting with Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor's transport advisor.

Our main concern was the recent disruption on London Underground, for once not the result of industrial action, but a consequence of equipment failures. Kulveer explained that much of the new equipment needed several weeks to bed in. Making changes to the Tube during running hours was like performing heart surgery on someone running the marathon - well perhaps not quite that challenging, but you get the picture.


The worst problems have centred around the introduction of a new moving block signalling system. This will enable automatic train operation and is being welcomed by train drivers as a massive improvement. More trains can be run and irregularities in the timetable will be corrected automatically. But the new system is having teething troubles and there have been rumblings of discontent at Canary Wharf and Westminster.

Kulveer told us that he had spent two weeks visiting the line on the Mayor's personal instructions to see the problems for himself. He was convinced that they were being resolved and the a good, reliable service would be available soon.


A similar situation, this time arising from the introduction of new trains. Here the sensitivity of the doors had led to failures of service, but again Kulveer assured us that the worst of the problems was behind us now.

The renewal of escalators at Victoria Station was going to cause rush hour congestion and passengers were advised to find alternative routes at busy times. The work would be done quickly, but even so it was expected to take seven months. Interestingly, the Victoria Line escalator at this station is the second busiest in the world - not a lot of people know that...


I have noticed that our own Central Line has been experiencing delays too. In this case the culprit was a faulty signal card, which sets the timetable and operates the signals accordingly. After two breakdowns the fault had been rectified and the line was now operating a good service.

I was very impressed by Kulveer's detailed knowledge and his clear commitment to passengers. He is optimistic about the quality of service in the future, but he knows that I will be back to see him again if things don't improve.


Anonymous said...

City Hall has to do something about transport. Not only the train fares but also the overcrowding during peak times.

When I hear about the billions being spent on the Olympics, which is only a 16 day event you have to ask - do politicans have the priorities right?

Nothing ever gets done about transport because our MPs expenses revelaved that many London MPs choose to get second flats near Westminister rather then communite in from their London constituents.

Get rid of London Underground zones.

If you are rich you live in Zone 1 and you pay peanuts for transport. Boris bikes are £45 for the WHOLE year. Plus you have the option of walking or using your own cylce.

If you are low paid and have to live in Zone 3 but commute into Zone 1. Your transport costs are £1484 (£123 per month). Of if you live in Zone 4 - £1812 (£151 per month).

weggis said...

The Member for Ilford North lives in the constituency and uses Public Transport to get to the House, for which he has to pay.

Assembly Members, I believe, have a "free" travelcard - please confirm Roger.

Roger Evans said...

Right on both points Weggis. My Travelcard is treated as a part of my income and taxed accordingly.