Posts Tagged ‘London Underground’

When will the commuter chaos end?

Another day, another story about the chaos surrounding the ‘improvements’ to the Jubilee Line.

According to the Evening Standard:

“Two million passengers who use the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines face years of delays after a major row broke out today over the amount that will be spent on the Tube network.”

Apparently Tube Lines, the company in charge of the upgrade want £460 million more for the job than London Underground are willing to pay out, despite being ordered to cut their fee by £1.3 billion. 

The news came with the sniping and blame-shifting that is now an all too familiar part of the Tube upgrade, with everyone from Mayor Boris Johnson to Bob Crow, RMT union leader, weighing in.

Well, I don’t care who is at fault – Tube Lines, London Underground, Gordon Brown or Thomas the Tank Engine – and I suspect I am not alone. I just want some action.

Living in outer London you get used to whiling away time on icy train platforms as the tannoy announces ‘good service’ but the next train is nowhere in sight.

Delays, abrupt terminations before your stop (announced once the train has already left) and a necessity to leave inordinate amounts of time for your journey ‘just in case’ are irritating but acceptable. The complete lack of transport from north London on most weekends is not.

Bad service is better than nothing

The congestion charge and the general drive to get Londoners out of their cars was launched on the understanding that public transport could compensate from the steering wheel.

When the Met, Jubilee and Northern lines are running poor service or not running at all, as has been the case recently, there is no incentive to trade in your car for something environmentally friendly. Sure, there are replacement buses in operation whenever there is a tube closure. But I suspect anybody who trumpets them as a viable alternative has never actually whiled away hours, and hours, of an afternoon on one.

Moreover, it seems increasingly unclear what benefit these alleged ‘upgrades’ will have.

The idea is to finish them by the time of the Olympics – something looking unlikely anyway – but is uprooting our transport for more than a year really the price we must pay for a few weeks of sporting glory? Harrow seems likely to enjoy little benefit from London hosting the games, far from the sites as it is, so why must we put up with the cost?

There is no question the Tube could do with some maintenance – a lick of fresh paint, air conditioning, better station facilities – but not if it means causing us chaos every weekend from now until eternity. Either stop bickering and sort it out, or stop trying to redo it.

Because as deficient as the Underground may be, bad service is better than no service.

Agree with my opinion? Have you say by leaving a comment below.

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Will £3m be enough to improve Jubilee Line travel?


The revamped Bond Street station will open in 2017 with a shorter change from the Jubilee to the Central line. 

Transport for London (TfL) opened bids today for the £300 million expansion of the Jubilee line station. 

TfL said a new interchange between Bond Street’s two underground lines will reduce congestion at the busy station. The plans also include opening an additional ticket hall and building more escalators 

The renovated station, built 110 years ago, will have easy access to Crossrail, offering commuters a quicker journey to key rail stations like Paddington and Farringdon.  

With the addition of the Crossrail connection, TfL estimate daily passenger numbers will reach 225,00. At present, Bond Street station serves some 155,000 people each day. 

Miles Ashley, Head of London Underground Station Capacity Programme, said the redevelopment would transform the Bond Street area. 

“It will act as a catalyst for further investment securing the West End’s position as a premier shopping and entertainment destination and major employment centre.’ 

Work is due to start later this year, but the renovations are likely to be greeted with mixed feelings by Jubilee line commuters. 

It emerged in November that the building work keeping Stanmore station closed on weekends will run “well into 2010, probably into the third quarter or beyond”. 

Speaking in West Hampstead last Friday, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said he understood ‘your pain’

Handed a petition from miffed Jubilee line users, he said: 

“All I can say is that absolutely vital that we make sure that we keep up the investment in London’s transport infrastructure. 

“I know how inconvenient it is at the moment but that Jubilee Line, when it is completed, will have a 30 percent increase in its capacity. It will be a substantially better service”. 

To sign the petition to reopen the Jubilee Line soon between Stanmore and West Hampstead on weekends, click here.

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