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Forecast bleak with no Tube and Crossrail investment

Research showing the benefits of maintaining investment in the Tube, and the consequences of postponing it, has been published today by business organisation London First.

The report illustrates that investment in building Crossrail and modernising the Tube will bring vital extra transport capacity and generate wider economic benefits for the country in the order of £24bn of additional GDP.

On the other hand, the research forecasts increasingly impoverished travelling conditions for Londoners if investment tails off. The projected consequences include unreliability, slower journeys, much more overcrowding and increased congestion on the roads as passengers avoid the Tube.

Other passengers may choose not to travel at all, said the report, reducing recruitment by London employers and inhibiting economic growth.

“This report sets out in graphic terms the absolute necessity to keep investing in London’s transport infrastructure.”

Boris Johnson, London mayor

London mayor Boris Johnson said investment must be maintained for both the Tube and Crossrail, as “these two fundamental projects are inextricably linked”. “My commitment to the Tube upgrades and Crossrail is fundamental and unwaivering,” he said.

“This report sets out in graphic terms the absolute necessity to keep investing in London’s transport infrastructure,” said Johnson. “The alternative is sardine-tin travel that will do nothing for Londoners’ quality of life or our city’s reputation.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, called the Tube “a worn and broken asset”. “With forecast revenues, and taking the cost of maintenance that will be necessary in any case, the upgrade of the Tube more than pays for itself,” she said.

The report draws from data provided by Transport for London and explores the effects of investment on passengers, commuters and the economy.

The passenger experience − snapshot findings:

Without modernisation of the Tube, to give just five examples, during the morning rush hour in 2026:

  • Half a million passengers (twice as many as now) will commute in conditions defined as ‘very crowded’ – the equivalent of four or more people in a telephone box.
  • The 10 mile journey from Tooting Broadway to Canary Wharf will take almost an hour to complete, due to delays caused by crowding – about a fifth again compared to now.
  • The ticket barrier and entrance at Victoria station will be shut every six minutes, for two minutes each time – to maintain safety in the face of severe crowding.
  • Every passenger using Bond Street station will have to add an extra 10 minutes to their journey to push their way through overcrowded escalators and platforms.
  • Today’s 18 minute, six mile journey from North Acton to Oxford Circus will become almost a half hour trip because of excessive station and platform crowding.
  • Passengers will suffer in 32°C temperatures, in excess of limits defined in EU regulations for transporting livestock.

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