There will be no driverless trains in operation on the London Underground until after the end of Boris Johnson’s term of office, the London Assembly heard today.
The Mayor promised to introduce driverless trains across the network in his re-election manifesto.
In March he said winning a second term at City Hall would mean a mandate to introduce Tubes “with ‘train captains’ – along the lines of the DLR – with all the efficiency benefits at will bring, and absolutely no loss of safety.”
The Mayor has previously suggested a move to driverless trains would help reduce the disruption caused by strikes.
However LU Managing Director Mike Brown today told the London Assembly that driverless trains will not be in operation until 2020 at the earliest, four years after the Mayor is expected to stand down.
Brown also told Assembly Members that there are currently no plans to test driverless trains and that Transport for London has yet to secure funding for their introduction.
Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the Assembly’s Transport Committee and a Liberal Democrat AM, said: “The issue of if and how ‘driverless’ trains are developed is of great interest to Tube passengers. If funding is acquired for such technology, TfL will need to consider carefully how it moves forward and must take into account passengers’ views.”
Green Party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson commented: “The Mayor constantly talks about driverless trains as some sort of panacea but it was clear from today’s meeting that TfL has no noney for any has not ordered any and is not testing any.
“We heard the very considerable safety and technical issues that would have to be overcome and of course the Managing Director confirmed that train captains could take industrial action just the same as drivers so the idea of them putting an end to strikes is also a nonsense.”