Excellent News!

The Tube has now fully returned to national ownership, Boris and Transport For London (TFL) have brought out Bechtel and Amey and nationalised TubeLines. While this is bad news for me as a tube user and taxpayer it is outstanding news for me as a tunneller.

On the bad side there is a £310 million hit this year to buy them out (this is pure extra money and so will have to either come from the LUL budget or somewhere else in London) and there is the problem that TFL can’t manage a contract to save their life. All in all I expect to see less improvements costing even more money, hardly a good sign.

However on the plus side we wont have to deal with Bechtel, they are hard arsed contractual bastards and really squeezed their sub-contractors and stuck to deadlines. Tube work on their lines will become a great deal easier and a great deal more profitable for us tunnellers, which is always nice. Sure it wont be as easy as the good old days under Metronet (they were not only inept but also very, very dodgy) but it’ll be close.

I suppose it is technically possible it could work out, there are a few million quid that could be saved on Bechtel’s secondment rate (basically the outrageous rates they charged for using their staff at TubeLines, a fairly cunning tax dodge and PR ploy to artificially lower TubeLines profit while still making money). But that does assume that TFL will raise their game massively and start doing the job to the same high standards, the evidence from their work since Metronet’s nationalisation suggests they’re at best average.

Still those of you who use the tube or  have to pay for it should hope that happens, personally I’m just looking forward to a less demanding client who’s easier to bluff and confuse with long words.

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