12 March 2012

Reducing Tube delays by 30% by 2015

As part of Boris Johnson's 9 point plan for Greater London, he is cutting waste at City Hall, freeing up £3.5 billion for services - including reducing tube delays 30% by 2015, building Crossrail and orbital rail to link our suburbs, and extending the cycle hire scheme.

Building on the news that the Tube network is at its most reliable in a decade, with a 40% reduction in delays since 2008, the Mayor plans to cut delays by an additional 30% through continuing investment, staff training and innovation to increase efficiency. 

Increased medical training for station staff to help lower response times when passengers are taken ill and the introduction of ‘blue light’ escorts for spare parts to help engineers get to incidents more quickly will both contribute to a more efficient service.

But these improvements can only be delivered by sticking to the Mayor's investment plans.

Boris Johnson said: "Millions of Londoners and visitors to our great city use the Underground every day and we need to harness every single method we can to run the slickest possible operation on the Tube. I believe that by doing so we could cut Tube delays by 30% by 2015.

“Without the long term investment we are making and the focus my team is providing on improving passengers journeys, there would be a real danger that the Tube would have taken one step forward then five steps backwards.”


The Mayor's plan for transport includes:

  • Increased medical training - London Underground is discussing enhancing the medical training for BTP officers on the Tube so that they can offer increased support to the London Ambulance service in dealing with passenger illness quickly and restoring services. The trial that is being developed includes an additional 20 LU-funded officers and new response vehicles that will enable the officers with enhanced medical training to get to incidents swiftly.
  • 'Blue lighting' spares - The British Transport Police are providing a 'blue light' escort to get London Underground engineers to incidents more quickly.
  • Motorbikes for spares delivery - A trial motorbike service to carry spare parts to any incidents on the network has begun with the aim of reducing the time it takes to repair faults
  • Right spare, right place, right time - Spare parts are being stocked at common failure locations so that technicians can go there and fix a fault immediately, without having to head to pick up spares at a depot first.
  • New approach to incident response – engineers and operational staff are being brought together into a single command and control room to speed up the response to incidents.
  • Co-ordinating the response and dedicated staff - senior operating staff have been trained and will take over coordinating London Underground's incident response from the start of April. Dedicated staff are being recruited to improve train reliability at five key locations on the network (Hammersmith, Brixton, Aldgate, Morden and Stratford).
  • Rollout of automatic track monitoring - Advanced signal monitoring technology and Automated Track Monitoring Systems are being trialled, allowing engineers to spot problems before they affect service and focus their maintenance efforts in the most effective way.
  • Remote monitoring of equipment - through sensors and CCTV of signalling, pumps and drainage, which means London Underground can spot a problem early and fix it faster.
  • More off site testing - Jubilee Line passengers suffered disruption during the upgrade delivered under the Public Private Partnership due to a failure to test the systems sufficiently offline. For the Northern Line upgrade vast amounts of testing will be done on simulators which exactly replicate the line to iron out issues before the live system is introduced..
  • Listening to the grassroots - London Underground is putting in changes to significantly improve how it engages frontline staff, who can often provide the most creative solutions to problems.
  • Weekly 'war rooms' for every line. Top management for each line meet weekly and discuss the top 5 problems on that line and how to address them.
  • Accelerating pace, greater focus - In the past a problem has taken months to be identified and a solution taken even longer to be put in place. An example of the new focus has been the identification of a problem where passenger emergency alarms on numerous lines cause lots of delays due to accidental activation. The war rooms have identified it as a systematic issue and work is now underway to install covers on passenger emergency alarms to reduce accidental activations on the lines most affected by them before the Games. Work is well underway on the Victoria line and is already showing positive results. The Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines are also being addressed, and plans are in development to roll this out across the network.
  • Reliability focus to generate new ideas. £50m has already been identified for reliability projects over the next few years, which are being developed, implemented and tracked to ensure they produce real improvements for passengers.


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