Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 492-499)




  492. Gentlemen, greetings. I apologise for keeping you waiting. Would you please be kind enough to give us your names for the record.
  (Mr Hoare) My name is Rod Hoare, I am the Chief Executive of Metronet.
  (Mr Coucher) My name is Iain Coucher, I am the Chief Executive of Tube Lines.

  493. Do you have any remarks you wish to make?
  (Mr Hoare) No.

Mr Stevenson

  494. To both witnesses, please. Transport For London claimed that you are not contractually committed to delivering the improvements set out in the recent Government publication. Is that correct?
  (Mr Coucher) The contract lays out very specific obligations and requirements with regard to improving the service that London Underground gives to its passengers. We are committed to a fixed number of station modernisations, a fixed number of upgrades of escalators, a fixed number of upgrades with regard to performance—


  495. Forgive me, I am sorry to interrupt you. This is a very difficult room and the noise gets swallowed, so if we could have a little more voice because the microphones are recording your voices, not projecting your voices.
  (Mr Coucher) Apologies, Chairman. The contract is fairly precise on our deliverables and that is the contractual regime to which we signed up.

Mr Stevenson

  496. Yes, I am sure that is the case, but my question was are you free to depart from those obligations and asset management plans supplied to London Underground and have you a contractual obligation to deliver the specific investments?
  (Mr Hoare) We have a contract of obligation to deliver the investment. In terms of the actual individual asset management plans, what we do each year is we bring forward, or the process is, and it is in the contract, an asset management plan as to what we plan to do with all the assets. Those include all the assets from rolling stock all the way through for the whole of the infrastructure. In terms of that plan, we then agree it with London Underground and agree that is a sensible, logical way to go forward. In doing that we will have taken into account all the considerations that we would have had in whole life costing and in the way that the asset management regime went forward, and that we then do.

  497. Yes, but have you a contractual obligation to do it or are you free to depart from it?
  (Mr Hoare) If I wanted to change from the asset management plan that I had put forward to London Underground on the yearly assessment and review, on which we have regular updates, I would go to London Underground and explain, if I wanted to change it, why I wanted to change it.

  498. I understand that but what I am trying to get at, quite simply, is have you got a contractual obligation to deliver or are you free to not deliver that contract? I am sure you talk to London Underground, I am sure you do all that, I am sure you do your annual asset management plan and so on and if there was some difficulty you would talk to them, but at the end of the day have you got a contractual obligation to deliver or are you free to remove yourself from them?
  (Mr Coucher) We have got a contractual obligation to deliver these upgrades. For example, for the lines for which we are responsible we have 30 station modernisations and 67 station refurbishments, we have got a contractual obligation to deliver that and we are not free to depart from that. On other assets, like track, for example, we have a contractual obligation to replace 46 per cent of track on the Northern Line. That is a contract obligation from which we cannot depart.

  499. So when Transport for London, Mr Kiley, says "Infracos are free to depart from asset management plans supplied to London Underground Limited and have no contractual obligation to actually deliver the specific investment suggested by their bids", he is incorrect?
  (Mr Coucher) There are different ways in which you can achieve the outputs or the upgrades. Let us take the station modernisation, for example. Our contractual obligation is to modernise a station to LUL standards and inside that we are free to decide the best way of achieving that. That is our contractual obligation.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 17 January 2002