Monday, October 20, 2003

Tube Problems

So, the tube's up the spout again. This time it's the Northen Line, which normally zooms me between home and work. Thankfully I have an alternative route that takes about the same length of time (normally) but means I may have to spend fifteen to twenty minutes standing on a rail platform. Not terribly pleasant in this sort of weather.

But I suppose I shall have to get used to it if the threatened industrial action materialises. At least until we move out of London all together.

The tube is in desperate need of a major overhaul and has been since long before the Private-Public Partnership came into being. Blaming the latest problems wholly on the PPP is therefore counterproductive - if there is to be any chance of making the tube safe and reliable then everyone (including us passengers) needs to pull together and work towards the same goal. That means that tube bosses need to admit that there are problems that require radical solutions, unions need to be supportive and passengers have to be prepared to suffer major disruption. Otherwise the network will continue to be patched rather than upgraded and problems like those over the weekend will carry on happening.

One last point - us passengers can't have it both ways. We want the tube to run safely and reliably but we also want it to run non-stop over the weekends, or later into the night, at least. Running trains until two or three a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights would get rid of more than 15% of the available maintenance time thus reducing the work that can be done on improvements. We have to stop making unrealistic demands.

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