Building's news editor relives Monday's communter hell when London's tube almost ground to a halt and Metronet received a £1m slap on the wrist
The Tube. The perennial bane of Londoners' lives. A bad journey into work can ruin your day, and it did so for thousands of passengers on Monday morning when the Central and Circle lines were completely shut down and there were severe problems on others.
The disruption came at a price, and it wasn’t just the patience of Londoners' which at the best of times is never in great supply on the Underground. Metronet, the consortium that maintains those lines, faces a fine of more than £1m for Monday’s problems.
Yesterday Atkins, part of Metronet showed that the doomed contract is hitting its bottom line as it contributed to a £1.4m fall in its interim pre-tax profit. Keith Clarke, Atkins chief executive and chairman of Metronet, always said that he never expected to get any glory out of the contract but that it was worth the hassle in the long term. His own patience must have been tested on that score, and seemingly has been as Metronet announced this week that Clarke would be leaving the chairmanship behind at “some point in the future.”
Frankly it is a mess, and a frustration indeed. But let’s not forget that when the tube is working, it’s the quickest way of getting around a massive City. And better, I would say, than sitting in a traffic jam for 45 minutes to travel a mile on a bus, even if you have got someone’s armpit in your face.