Boris Buys Tube Lines

We understand it’s generally frowned upon to begin a post with a torrent of swearing, but even so: fucking hell. Boris Johnson has managed to do what even Ken couldn’t and find a way out of the appalling PPP mess – he’s bought out Tube Lines.

Faced with the private sector demanding an extra £400m to complete upgrade work, Jubilee Line closures stretching on forever plus early Northern Line closures, it seems the Mayor lost patience and decided to buy the shares held by Bechtel and Amey for £310m, making Tube Lines a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL.

This was all agreed a couple of weeks ago but couldn’t be announced until after the general election – presumably because it’s Gordon Brown’s fault we were stuck with PPP in the first place. But now we’re free of what Boris is calling “the perverse pressures of the Byzantine PPP structure”, and Paul Waugh in the Evening Standard hears that the number of line closures can now be reduced from 84 to as few as 12.

TfL says the deal won’t cost us a penny – at a stroke, they’ve lost the middle men, the need to pay management fees, and TfL can also negotiate lower long-term debt repayments. London Underground will take over upgrade work, using the private sector when necessary (TfL’s press release mentions Amey as a possible contractor, but pointedly not Bechtel). Blimey. As the Tories negotiate for power nationally, has their flagship Mayor taken a lurch for the left?

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  • http://undefined cobo04

    Well good for Boris, thought he would be useful for something.

  • http://undefined John

    Dare I say it…Boris is doing a pretty good job so far, what with this and the cycle hire. Who’d have thunk it?

  • http://undefined queensway26

    Someone with commonsense at last. Well done Boris.

  • http://undefined Gilda

    Well spank my arse and call me Shirley. Where did that come from? I never thought I would ever say these words but: good work Boris!

  • http://undefined Ravi

    Saying no to idiotic central Government scams to hide public sector borrowing off-balance sheet is not a lurch to the left, it is common sense.

  • Alex T.

    But how are they going to reduce the number of line closures? The only way I can see this to work is if they will postpone the upgrade even more and spread the work over night closures instead (but that would mean it will take 2-3 years longer!).

    • RachelH

      I read somewhere that not having to pander to the needs of the private sector meant LU could schedule fewer line closures. I suppose in practice it means LU can do the work at the same time they do other stuff, or the problem with the line closures was some off bureaucratic thing with PPP?

      • Alex T.

        I hope so! Certainly it appears to be a change for the better.

  • http://undefined Ldymcbeth

    Ahh, Boris, I had faith in you, and it seems I WAS right for once. Carry on the good work

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