Today we are getting confirmation that devastating cuts to the investment program on London Underground are going to continue. Procurement of a new signalling system for the Piccadilly line has been “paused”, meaning that when new trains eventually arrive in the mid 2020’s, a decade later than originally scheduled, it will be impossible to deliver the service frequencies needed to ease overcrowding.
Instead of the 36 trains per hour service now delivered on the Victoria line there will be just 27 trains per hour far short of what will be needed.
On top of the scrapping of plans for extra trains on the Jubilee and Northern lines, this means that Deep Tube lines simply will not be able to deliver the “World Class service” that has been so often promised and that our city needs.
This is terrible news for passengers. The London Underground investment program was designed to keep overcrowding at current levels as London’s population and passenger numbers grow. These cuts mean that for decades ahead, overcrowding on the Tube will get worse and worse.
There will also be more cuts to staff numbers and station upgrade programs inevitably leading to more delays.
It is now long past time that all those responsible, the Department of Transport, Transport for London officials and elected politicians admitted that the current funding settlement for TfL is simply unsustainable. The Crossrail experience should make it obvious that ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away, it makes them worse.
The cuts that George Osborne made to Tfl’s funding must be reversed and a new funding package put in place or we will end up with a Tube system simply unable to cope with London’s growth.