ISSUE: Turnham Green Tube

Is PPP the Key to Victory in this Campaign

This article was written by a member of this site who is a regular tube user:-

The reorganisation of the tube currently underway could provide a golden opportunity to get the Piccadilly line to stop at Turnham Green or could entrench the status quo for many years. The next few months could be decisive.

What is PPP?

It is the government's preferred way of funding the tube despite most Londoners voting for candidates who opposed it in the recent mayoral elections.

It stands for Public Private Partnership. The plan is to grant franchises to private consortia to operate the infrastructure of the tube. They will deliver the track, signals and trains and London Underground will supply the passengers.

A fuller explanation of this policy is given in the government's White Paper on the subject.

The tube network is being split into three. The part containing the District line has yet to be put up for tender. The Piccadilly line has been grouped with the Jubilee and Northern Lines. There are now two short-listed bidders Tube Lines and Tube Rail. These are two consortia lead by multinational engineering companies, Brown & Root and Bechtel. The latter interestingly are based in Hammersmith.

The winning bidder will have to "deliver" trains to LUL. They will be benchmarked and their payment will depend on them hitting performance targets for the number of trains they deliver. Delays and cancellations will be costly for them.

How does Benchmarking Effect Turnham Green?

The bidders are currently formulating the details of their bids including how they will be benchmarked. Once a bid is successful the targets will be set in stone and the operator would have little incentive to change the terms. An extra stop on the Piccadilly line would be potentially costly to them because the small addition to the journey time would impact their performance relative to their benchmark.

The danger is that these contracts last for thirty years and the working relationship between the private sector and public sector parts of the network may not be totally smooth.

The bidders will be anxious to present themselves in the best possible light over the next few months. What better way to signify their commitment to a high standard of service for Londoners than reintroduce a proper service at Turnham Green. It will cost them nothing if it is done before the benchmarks are set.

Both bidders have been contacted to request them to include a Turnham Green stop in their bid. A positive response from either bidder would be a very positive indication of management quality and commitment to high service standards. Regular tube users in Chiswick would probably be delighted to write to the DETR pointing out the difference in quality of the two bids.

Related articles:

Background to the issue

Would you use the Piccadilly line from Turnham Green?

Is Turnham Green the Most Dangerous Station on the Tube?

FT Article on Bidding Process


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