Tube maintenance firm's performance is criticised by independent arbiter

Tube maintenance firm Metronet has not performed up to standards expected of it, the first annual review of its performance has concluded.

The independent report by Chris Bolt, the arbiter for the London Underground PPP agreements, said from April 2003 to March 2006 Metronet was:

  • Significantly behind schedule in delivering it s obligations on stations
  • Giving a poor delivery of materials and renewals on track work, where there was also insufficient resources to deliver required volumes of work.
Bolt said: “It is particularly important that Metronet should fully implement its asset and risk management programmes and make further improvements in delivery of the track and stations programmes. This is essential if Metronet is to improve its overall performance to the standard required in the PPP agreements.”

Metronet is responsible for the maintenance of all London Underground lines except the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly. It is made up of five companies: Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier, EDF Energy and Thames Water.

Bolt, who is also head of the Office of Rail Regulation, recognised that Metronet’s performance had improved in the past contract year but warned that the full benefits of the changes were yet to be realised and areas of weakness remained.

In response, Metronet pointed out that the report does not give full weight to progress made in the last three years. CEO Andrew Lezala said: “We recognise that Metronet's performance in the first three years of the Contract has fallen short of expectations in some areas – in particular on the delivery of station modernisations – and we are addressing this and other issues.”

He said initiatives were being implemented to address the issues the Arbiter had highlighted. These include:

  • reorganisation of the supply chain
  • the conversion of the contract for its track renewal programme into a Metronet/Balfour Beatty alliance
Bolt also indicates a number of areas where London Underground and Metronet could work together more closely and said that in future, many issues should be capable of resolution between Metronet and London Underground, without his intervention.