BRITAIN’s Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott announced on May 4 that Commissioner of Transport for London Bob Kiley would be taking over as Chairman of London Transport from May 8, with responsibility for negotiating final contracts under the government’s Public-Private Partnership package. The LT board selected two consortia on May 2 as preferred bidders for 30-year concessions to maintain and modernise London Underground’s deep-level tube infrastructure and rolling stock.

Tube Lines Group, comprising Amey, Bechtel-Halcrow and Jarvis, has been selected as preferred bidder for Infraco JNP (Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly), ahead of the shortlisted TubeRail consortium of Alstom, AMEC, Halliburton Brown & Root and Carillion. For Infraco BCV (Bakerloo, Central, Victoria and Waterloo & City) the Metronet consortium comprising Balfour Beatty, WS Atkins, Thames Water, Seeboard and Adtranz has been preferred to the LINC team of Alcatel, Anglian Water, Bombardier, Fluor and Mowlem. LINC, Surface Lines Group and Metronet are bidding for the Sub-Surface Lines (District, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, Circle and East London). A recommendation for the SSL preferred bidder was due to go to the LT board in late May or June, but the transactions are not expected to be complete until the autumn. Operation of the network will remain in the public sector with ’New London Underground’ (RG 3.00 p160).

However, on April 10 Transport for London won the right to apply for a judicial review of the PPP, and the legal action is due to begin in the High Court on June 12. TfL is arguing that the PPP concessions would prevent the Mayor of London from fulfilling his legal obligations under the Greater London Authority Act ’to develop and implement policies for the promotion of safe, integrated, efficient and economic transport facilities and services.’ Under the Act, responsibility for LU will be transferred to Transport for London once the PPP is in place, allowing the residual London Transport to be abolished.

Kiley hopes the renegotiation will secure ’enhanced rights’ for LU, such that it has ’unified management control’, particularly of ’all maintenance that directly or indirectly affects train operation’. He also wants LU to have ’approval rights over initial Infraco upgrade and enhancement programmes.’ He also favours using public sector bond finance as a cheaper alternative to private risk capital, but this has not been agreed.