Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 540-553)

MR ROD HOARE AND MR IAIN COUCHER

WEDNESDAY 5 DECEMBER 2001

  540. Doubtless I shall have something to say to you about it if you do not get to that point. If you get the PPP over the next 20 years the present system will expand by 15 per cent at peak times, that is what we were told by the Chief Executive of London Underground. Is that not correct?
  (Mr Hoare) Yes, and in 20 years' time you will have new trains, new signalling, which will enable us to increase the capacity on the lines.

  541. I see. If you do not exceed passenger growth with your new capacity what is going to happen then, how are you going to reduce overcrowding, which is the thing that concerns most passengers?
  (Mr Hoare) I think there are two areas about overcrowding. One is overcrowding in terms of stations. There is a system under the contract for London Underground to introduce a major enhancement philosophy whereby a station may need complete rebuild because it gets overcrowded and there is congestion in it. There is a provision for that in the contract.

  542. I think it is important for us to know what Transport For London can do if they do not find they have got enough money for the improvements that they are expecting for the first seven and a half years.
  (Mr Hoare) Transport For London will be contracted through London Underground to provide us with the money to continue forward with the plans we have. If they want to come to us and change those plans then that would be a negotiation.

  543. Is London Underground going to co-ordinate the work?
  (Mr Hoare) It has an area of co-ordination, yes.

  544. An area of co-ordination. Does it co-ordinate what both of you do? Will both programmes be co-ordinated by London Underground?
  (Mr Hoare) They are co-ordinated through a number of systems. The key system is have you got enough time and space to get down to the lines and do all the capital expenditure work we have got to do.

  545. And what is the incentive that they give you to do that? Is there an incentive to encourage you to co-ordinate your programmes of work?
  (Mr Coucher) There is a mutual incentive to co-ordinate anyway because—

  546. A mutual incentive. You mean it would be in your interests?
  (Mr Coucher) It would certainly be in our interests. Let me be quite clear about the way in which the lines work. The lines for which we are responsible, Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly Lines, run up and down self-contained lines, the trains are on there, there is no shared track with Metronet, there is no shared rolling stock with Metronet, they just run up and down there. The stations that we share, the interchanges, have been allocated to each individual infrastructure company. There is not a great deal of interface but where there is interface it is managed through the possessions regime and co-ordinated by London Underground.

  547. So London Underground will have control over the possessions and that is how they co-ordinate your programmes of work?
  (Mr Coucher) Yes.

  548. Thank you. Are the penalties for breaches of safety more severe than the bonuses for good train performance?
  (Mr Coucher) The penalty for breaching poor safety performance is the contract can be terminated, which is the ultimate sanction, and London Underground can step in and—

  549. Before you get to that point does it not seem to you that there should be some other sanction? To terminate a contract is really a very severe penalty.
  (Mr Coucher) What they can do is they instruct and failure to execute that is a breach of the contract and that is very severe.

  550. I see. Then at that point they would expect to take some action themselves, direct action?
  (Mr Coucher) Yes.

  551. What guarantees can you provide that contractors and subcontractors will receive appropriate training? You were asked this before but you will realise we have had instances on the overground railway of people operating with what appeared to be genuine qualifications which on closer examination were not genuine. What efforts are you taking at this point to ensure that the people who work for you are properly qualified and will continue to have exactly that proper qualification?
  (Mr Hoare) We do a range of things but the first thing you do for all subcontractors is you carry out what we call a health audit and a safety audit of their capability. That ranges, at the upper level, from do they have a safety management system, does their training include safety, how do they carry out their own audits, to the bottom level, how do they license their staff, what licences do their staff need, how do they ensure it? In auditing those we then can spot-check them and we audit our subcontractors at the same time.

  552. That did not work very efficiently in the overground system, did it?
  (Mr Coucher) The certification system for London Underground is controlled and managed by London Underground, so if we want to put our people on to the underground, or our subcontractors, they have to be certified by the London Underground Certification System.

  553. And that is down to each individual certification for each individual worker?
  (Mr Coucher) The individual worker has to go through the LUL training and before they enter the underground system they have to present their papers to prove they are both valid and up to date.

  Chairman: We have been here before, I hope we shall not need to question you on that again. Can I thank you both, you have been very tolerant and helpful.


 
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