AN ATTACK on red tape has halved the time it takes to complete refurbishment work on London Underground, contractor Tube Lines said last week.
'Until a few weeks ago 198 people had to sign off a station refurbishment project.
We've now got that down to 18 signatures over three or four key stages, ' said Tube Lines assurance and contracts director Andrew Cleaves.
Contractor Tube Lines has been upgrading the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines since December 2002. Contractor Metronet has been upgrading all other lines since April 2003.
The streamlining initiative has been carried out jointly by Transport for London, Tube Lines and Metronet.
Cleaves said that before the upgrade was contracted out, there was no financial incentive to improve efficiency. Under the public private partnership, contractors are penalised for delays and rewarded for delivering projects early.
'People got used to working on escalator replacements for 26 weeks. But we now do the job in three months.'
Escalator repairs at Green Park tube station are on course to be completed in three months instead of six.
Cleaves said that better planning 'to get the right people in the right place', and ensuring the correct materials and equipment were available for the job, had also helped improve project delivery times.
A single asset register capable of linking maintenance and renewal work also helps programme work more efficiently.
Employing more people to work during engineering hours had improved productivity and clearer lines of accountability have also led to a 30% drop in reported faults compared to last year, said Cleaves.