A couple of bits of Underground news came out today and, as you would expect, one of them focuses on increased security for drivers and other tube staff.
As the Guardian reports today the Rail and Maritime Union has drawn up a list of security demands which include:
- A "no radio, no train" rule.
- Clarification of the "code amber" procedures - i.e. should an entire network be closed after a suspect device is found or an 'incident' occurs?
- A 'train guard' onboard to help with emergencies and look for suspect packages.
- Emergency equipment for staff, including breathing apparatus.
- The strengthening of driver cab bulkheads.
The union has also said that as said it is willing to ballot members on strike action if they are not met (makes the whole issue of that bloke who might have pulled a sicky look a bit trivial now doesn't it?).
The rest of the tube news is just as depressing, basically, the PPP plan isn't really working out.
It is a chronicle of failures and empty promises of progress. It proves the nonsense of the philosophy that private enterprise is inherently efficient. I hope it will prove a useful lesson to government economists as well as London Underground planners.
That's Keith Norman, the General Secretary of ASLEF quoted over on the union's website today.
According to the report, Metronet and Tube Lines are jointly responsible for "continued signal failures" and the fact that engineering overruns have increased by 35% year on year.
Also, many of the major renewal projects are behind schedule; and the two companies are "earning significant sums of money through the PPP which are not consistent with the improvements being delivered".
Unfortunately there is no news yet on what "enquiries, condemnations and recriminations" may arise from all this.