The first review of the two Metronet Infracos which are responsible for maintaining the Bakerloo, Central, Victoria and Waterloo & City lines (Metronet BCV) and Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City, District and East London Lines (Metronet SSL) has been published by the Chris Bolt, the Arbiter for the London Underground PPP Agreements.
The office of the Arbiter was established by the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and exists primarily to ensure that any differences between London Underground and the Infracos can be resolved independently.
In his report, which covers the period of 3 April 2003 to 31 March 2006, Mr Bolt says “neither of the two Metronet Infracos has performed in line with the required standard over the period as a whole.” Although Metronet has introduced a number of initiatives to address performance issues the Arbiter says areas of weakness remain.
He accuses the company of being “significantly behind schedule” in work to stations and says “there have been insufficient resources” to deliver the required volumes of work to track. Mr Bolt also says that “while Metronet is demonstrating good performance in some areas, such as fleet management, it needs to make significant improvements in other areas.”
“It is particularly important that Metronet should fully implement its asset and risk management programmes and make further improvements in delivery of the track and stations programmes.”
“This is essential if Metronet is to improve its overall performance to the standard required in the PPP Agreements. I hope to see much clearer evidence of efficiency and economy and of Good
Industry Practice at next year’s review.”
Responding to the report Metronet’s CEO, Andrew Lezala said the company “recognise that Metronet’s performance in the first three years of the Contract has fallen short of expectations in some areas – in particular on the delivery of station modernisations – and we are addressing this and other issues. ”
“We are now implementing improvements in the stations programme that we have been developing over the last 12 months and are discussing with London Underground whether we can jointly take these further.”
“We have also taken a number of other initiatives over recent months which we believe address the issues now also identified by the Arbiter and will enable a step change in performance.” However the company said the Arbiter’s overall assessment “does not give full weight to progress made in the last of the three years or since.”
London’s Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said the report’s conclusion was “no surprise to me or the travelling public, who have had to endure the avoidable disruption caused by Metronet’s delayed work programme, which remains seriously behind schedule.” Mr Hendy said it was “clearly time for an end to the excuses” and called on Metronet’s shareholders “to take the action necessary to deliver on their promises to London.”
Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said said that the report “confirms that, despite the massive investment in renewing the Underground, Metronet is failing to deliver the quality and efficiency for which it is being very generously paid under the PPP.”
The full annual review can be downloaded from the PPP Arbiter’s website.