Metronet and Tubelines are not making significant progress, says the head of London’s underground.

Tim O’Toole, the American brought in by Ken Livingstone to run London’s underground, has criticised the Metronet and Tube Lines, the consortiums involved in the PPP, for failing to deliver the improvements the tube system needs.

In an interview with today’s Guardian newspaper, O’Toole says: “the improvements are not happening fast enough. The fact things are better than they were two years ago is damning by faint praise.”

Because the public and private partners in the scheme use different criteria for measuring success, the contractors can produce statistics that paint a different picture. Metronet points to a 140% increase in reliability on the Circle Line, while Tube Lines says that equipment failures have fallen by 32% on its three lines.

During the first full year, the PPP scheme cost taxpayers £1.1 billion. In the same period, the consortiums made profits of almost £2 million a week between them. Susan Kramer, the Liberal Democrat banker who stood against Livingstone in the mayoral elections, described it as: “an absolute lack of understanding of how public transport networks function: they are integrated systems, and that you fragment at your peril.”