Not haPPPy: Transport for London have issued their second annual report into the performance of the PPP - the Public-Private Partnership that funds investment on the Underground. Both Metronet and Tube Lines have so far been given approximately £2 billion out of the public purse to upgrade the system and its infrastructure, but TfL are not impressed. Reports are normally woolly, positive things (I know, I've written a few) but this one is openly damning:
"There has been some progress in the first two years, but there are also some worrying trends and overall there is a shortfall compared with the expectations created by the private sector Infrastructure companies' bids. In short, performance is not good enough and is less than what was promised."
There follow several pages of paragraphs, tables and graphs that show exactly why performance isn't good enough. 'Availability', 'capability' and 'ambience' aren't improving fast enough, rolling stock is unreliable, track renewal is well behind schedule and a lot of projects are having to be 'rephased'. Meanwhile shareholders continue to receive profits, although most of them are probably sensible enough to live well outside London and drive around in nice big cars all day. If you fancy reading the full report then you can find it here (beware, 90 page pdf), or you might just want to look at the pretty photographs. Of course, I was particularly interested in any reference to the renovation fiasco at my local tube station, and I didn't have to look far:
"Metronet BCV was due to complete enhancements at West Ruislip, Roding Valley and Chigwell by 5 March 2005, as was Metronet SSL at Bow Road, Turnham Green, Plaistow, Dagenham Heathway and North Harrow. All of these projects are running late. The latest plans from Metronet show the remainder of the programme running to time. This is hard to believe given current performance and the acceleration required for year three and beyond." (page 54)
"Although Metronet has met early milestones in its Victoria line upgrade project, it strains credulity to credit progress on such a complex project when, currently, much simpler renewal work is consistently late." (page 5)
Or, in other words, if Metronet can't deliver on a piddly little backwater station like Bow Road (and so far they still haven't ), then what hope does the rest of the crumbling network have? See, I told you my local station was important.