Metronet’s Chief Executive today admitted that his company called off essential engineering work on the Underground because overruns on two consecutive nights this week meant they were not confident it could be completed on time.
Appearing before the London Assembly Transport Committee meeting Andrew Lezala said his decision to cancel the work might have been “heightened” by the fact that he would be answering questions about his company’s performance from the Assembly.
Lezala said his team had been reminded of Metronet policy not to undertake work which had a high risk of overrunning on week nights, after the engineering works overran on Monday and Tuesday.
Geoff Pope AM, Transport Committee Chair, said: “Andrew Lezala’s comments clearly reveal that Metronet should not have embarked on this kind of work in the first place during the working week. It’s good that appearing before the Assembly Committee seems to be concentrating minds. Londoners need to know that the infracos are strongly committed to avoiding overruns for commuters.”
Representatives of both Metronet and Tube Lines – the private sector companies responsible for repairing the Underground – were questioned on PPP performance to date, how the PPP impacts on daily services, and progress on long term renewal of the Tube’s stations, track and trains.
Terry Morgan, Chief Executive of Tube Lines, said he accepted full responsibility for performance of the Northern Line, but said the so-called misery line was no worse than other lines when it came to excess journey time. He said the Northern Line had twice as many components, which meant it was more difficult to achieve the 99.9 percent reliability.
Geoff Pope said: “It would be interesting to hear what the passengers on the Northern Line think of Terry Morgan’s views.
“I was encouraged to hear that the infrastructure companies were proposing improved ways of working in order to deliver a better service for Londoners.”