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Metronet needs radical overhaul says LUL


A RADICAL restructuring of Tube contractor Metronet would improve its efciency, London Underground (LUL) managing director Tim O'Toole said this week.

He told NCE that Metronet's structure was focusing too much on mutual support and coordination at the expense of strong leadership and direction.

O'Toole's comments came as LUL released its third annual report on the Tube public private partnership.

The report finds that Metronet has failed to deliver on its renewals programme and maintenance of the District Line, but commends it for delivering new District Line trains on schedule.

It also slams Tube Lines for failing to maintain the Northern Line (see box).

Metronet's management structure means that shareholders Atkins, Balfour Beatty, EDF Energy and RWE Thames Water carry out all work to renew and maintain its share of the Tube network, which covers everything except the Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines - these are managed by Tube Lines.

O'Toole argued that this structure could be changed to introduce competitive tendering, leaving shareholders to take on just a managing role. This is the model used by Tube Lines.

O'Toole said he would like to see Metronet use the competitive tender model.

'Metronet has a complex structure that makes it difcult for them to control delivery and cost. The structure speaks for itself - there's not a single person in control, ' said O'Toole.

The Of ce of Rail Regulation (ORR) will next month review Metronet's performance and report back in September.

A Metronet spokesman refused to comment on whether it would change its structure, but said: 'I can't pre-empt what the arbiter (ORR) will decide. At the end of the day we won these contracts based on our model.' London Underground also criticised Metronet's management of its station upgrade programme. It revealed that it has imposed a Corrective Action Notice on Metronet for having completed only 14 of 35 stations, all of which were finshed late.

Metronet hit back, blaming London Underground for its 'loose' defiition of the term 'station upgrade' that meant it took longer to negotiate the scope of each project, leading to delays. It said it would dispute the notice with LUL.

CE understands that Metronet is taking a more proactive approach to station upgrades by presenting LUL with plans of what it propose to do and what it intends to leave out.

This is similar to Tube Lines' strategy for its station upgrade programme.

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