Green transport policies coupled with the capital's continued growth as a business centre could undermine long-term funding plans to revamp the London Underground Tube network.
In an interview with NCE
, Tube Lines chief executive Terry Morgan said that meeting these new challenges will require new public investment to be found for London Underground in the future, on top of the existing public private partnership (PPP) deal.'Environmental considerations were second order when we cut the [PPP] deal,' said Morgan. 'That is not the case today and certainly won't be the case at periodic review. Is it now on the agenda and the public purse will have to pay.'Morgan pointed out that the government's policy of cutting CO2 emissions by urging commuters to switch from car to public transport had increased the burden on the Tube, particularly at stations. He warned that additional funding was vital to ensure that long-term plans did not get abandoned in favour of solving short-term capacity issues.
'The temptation to substitute one programme of work for another is compelling for some people trying to balance the books,' he explained. 'But in a life-cycle business you really don't have much choice about taking things out if we are going to achieve the objectives that we set ourselves.'Morgan pointed out that when PPP was signed in 2002, daily passenger volumes on the Underground were about 3M a day. But last year, he said, the number actually exceeded 4M on occasion.'What isn't in any of the plans is congestion relief at any of the stations,' he said. 'While we have contracts to modernise, the whole question of capacity wasn't a consideration. I don't think that it was ever forecast that this level of potential growth was going to materialise.'