Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Taking the flak

Viewpoint - Metronet chief executive Andrew Lezala defends the company's performance on London Underground.

Metronet, under the Public Private Partnership (PPP), has responsibility for managing the assets of twothirds of the Tube.

In London Underground's (LUL) report last week Metronet was roundly criticised for a number of mistakes and delays, and some of this criticism has been justi ed (News last week).

But significant progress has been made in the past year and passengers are beneting from these improvements.

The two Metronet organisations have been brought together at the top under a single management structure, our supply chain has been realigned into a single unit and we have changed some of the people. I have also introduced the Balanced Scorecard, which is starting to focus our minds on the areas that need most improvement.

Operationally, Metronet is providing more trains than ever before and passenger disruption has been reduced by a third since 'Transfer' in April 2003. Fact: all of our major capital programmes are either on or ahead of plan - with the exception of stations.

The station delays have been costly for Metronet. We're doing all we can to catch up on this work and working closely with LUL. I'm also working hard to ensure that we deliver these programmes efciently and cost-effectively.

In all, Metronet is managing in excess of 500 separate projects as part of its PPP delivery. The vast majority of this work is carried out at night and involves thousands of engineers working 365 days a year - a massive task Overall more than 99% of these projects nished in time to allow the Tube service to resume as scheduled.

When work does overrun, even if the work is of an emergency nature, we know this has the potential to be highly disruptive for Tube users. In the past year Metronet has reduced its overruns by 25%.

It is often the innovators of world-scale projects, such as Metronet's massive task to renew London's Tube, that stand to take a lot of ak.

Sometimes it's because we're challenging the status quo;

sometimes it's because we need to approach things differently; or maybe it's the case that our approaches have never been tackled this way before.

It reminds me of one of the greatest innovators of the 19th Century - Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Brunel left his mark in numerous ways. He applied his knowledge and imagination to the new opportunities offered by a technologically advancing age, opening up a world of global travel and communications, and making great leaps forward in the development of all aspects of engineering.

In 2006, Britain is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Brunel's birth. His engineering legacy is all around us. But perhaps most importantly he gave the engineers and innovators who followed him the resolve to inspire others - and to turn their creative thoughts into action.

In recreating the world's de tive metro, LUL and Metronet engineers might be said to be doing something comparable as they execute the Herculean task that is the PPP.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.