ON MARCH 15 London Transport announced that a formal procurement process for the London Underground Public-Private Partnership would start ’later in the spring’. Invitations to tender will be issued before the end of this year for three infrastructure companies - Sub Surface Lines, Infraco BCV (Bakerloo, Central, Victoria and Waterloo & City) and Infraco JNP (Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly).

Concession lengths of 25 to 30 years will allow the Infracos ’to improve the infrastructure, finance their services and earn a return on investment.’ The form of the contract between each Infraco and the public-sector operating company (Opsco) will be included in the invitations to tender.

A Periodic Review of services and charges will be held ’about every seven years’, with an independent Statutory Arbiter to determine charges should the Infraco and Opsco be unable to reach agreement.

LT aims to complete the PPP transactions ’in late 2000 or 2001’, but will respect the British government’s dictum that negotiating against a ’self-imposed deadline could compromise value for money’. When the transactions are completed, LU will become the responsibility of the new Greater London Authority and Mayor, to be elected in May 2000.

  • On February 25 LT issued its proposals to improve the integration of public transport in London, in response to the government’s White Paper last July. Highlighting the complexity of a structure combining ’more than 30 operators, 40-plus authorities with transport remits and 33 boroughs as planning authorities’, LT notes that since 1982 passenger-journeys on the Underground have increased by 67% compared to 31% on the national rail network.