London Mayor Boris Johnson has told MPs that tube upgrade contractor Tube Lines needed around 25 weekends of work to complete the upgrade of the London Underground (LU) Jubilee line.
Tube Lines manages the upgrades of the Jubilee, Northern and Victoria lines, and has continued to operate while the second tube upgrade contractor Metronet failed in 2007 and was eventually taken over by Transport for London.
Saying the upgrade was “frankly, not going well”, Mr Johnson told the House of Commons Transport Committee that the Jubilee line problem “went to the heart” of what was wrong with the Tube public-private partnership (PPP) plan.
Mr Johnson said PPP, which has already seen the collapse of the other private maintenance company, Metronet, was “a poorly conceived system” which had not operated in the interests of taxpayers or Londoners.
He added: “I don’t think anyone in the Treasury now thinks PPP was the right model.”
But he said that he was “not going to be tempted to read the last rites over Tube Lines or the PPP”.
Appearing before the committee after Mr Johnson gave evidence, Tube Lines chief executive Dean Finch apologised for the overrun of the Jubilee line work.
He said he understood the frustration of Mr Johnson and of LU and added that his company’s relationship with LU had ranged from “extremely collaborative to quite adversarial”.
Asked if he was likely to get a bonus or if he would accept one, Mr Finch said he did not expect Tube Lines to be in a position to pay a bonus.
He went on: “I don’t expect to have a choice. Would I accept a bonus? No.”
Transport minister Sadiq Khan said he did not think Tube Lines was likely to meet the same fate as Metronet. He added that although he accepted PPP had experienced some difficulties, it had been a success in terms of numbers using the Tube.