Boris And Ken Clash Over Tube Again

By BethPH Last edited 84 months ago
Boris And Ken Clash Over Tube Again

The tube is once again the subject of a tussle between mayoral candidates as Boris Johnson vows to fix it in time for the Olympics at the same time as Ken Livingstone tells him to ‘get a grip’.

The figures responsible for the furore were January’s monthly performance stats which Labour claim demonstrate that the tube is getting worse with more delays and disruptions, as Ken Livingstone stated yesterday;

‘The increasing delays on the Tube demonstrate that Boris Johnson hasn't got a grip, is out of touch and has failed to get on top of the detail of the transport system.'

This does seem rather a sweeping conclusion based on one month’s data, a point not ignored by Boris Johnson’s transport advisor Kulveen Ranger who fired back a broadside;

‘This is a totally misleading use of statistics. The hard work and focus of the mayor and London Underground has enabled us to regain control of the network by dismantling the PPP (Public Private Partnership), removing inefficiency and prioritising a lack of disruption.’

While Boris can claim to have grabbed the failing PPP by the scruff of the neck, the stranglehold of the unions on London’s transport system doesn’t seem to be any nearer to being resolved, leading to more delays and disruptions as everyone affected by last winter’s strikes can testify to. But is the tube really as bad as Ken claims? True, commuters have seen a lot of problems this year especially with the Victoria and Jubilee lines suffering as a result of ongoing improvement works, not to mention fare increases and the threat of cuts, but TfL says that figures for the whole network demonstrate a 7% decrease in delays.

With the Olympics and mayoral elections approaching, transport in the capital is one of the biggest and most high-profile political hot potatoes and especially during the Games, Boris will be uncomfortably aware of the world’s (and Ken Livingstone’s) beady eye on the tube.

Photo by The Green Odyssey

Last Updated 12 April 2011


Improvements to the lines cause the delays and cancellations. Is there any other way?

Nicolas Chinardet

"TfL says that figures for the whole network demonstrate a 7% decrease in delays."
The devil is in the details though. I read an analysis of those figures the other day (sadly can't remember where) which explained that the decrease is mostly due to improvement on outter parts of the network at off-peak times. while figure for Zone1 at peak times (which would affect the most people) showed that delays had actually increased...


Just ask anyone using the met line regularly if the tube has improved or not. Once you've left hospital you might have a better idea of the state of the network at the moment...

Dave H

Ken's hardly got an impressive track record himself when it comes to "getting a grip" on the tube. His main contribution seemed to be the recruitment of highly-paid transport consultants/supremos who completely failed to make any impact (e.g. Bob Kiley).

Political point-scoring over the state of the tube is boring. It's fucked because it's been neglected for decades, and Ken and Boris both know that you can't fix something like that quickly.