NEXT MONTH Britain’s Department of the Environment, Transport & Regions is due to receive a report from accountants Price Waterhouse giving ’financial advice on a range of possible options for public-private partnerships for the London Underground’. The review was ordered by the new Labour government in June, and when the contract was awarded on July 23, Price Waterhouse was asked to take the work forward ’as a matter of urgency’. The government is anxious to boost spending on the Underground to overcome a backlog of heavy renewals.

London Transport is continuing to work on two projects being arranged under the former Conservative administration’s Private Finance Initiative. On August 1 LT announced that it was to start final negotiations with the Transys consortium for the Prestige smart-card ticketing project. The only bidder from a shortlist of four, the consortium of EDS, Cubic Corp, ICL and W S Atkins has offered to invest £180m in re-equipping all Underground stations and around 6000 buses. Transys hopes to sign the contract in October.

Three days later, CityLink Telecommunciations and a GPT consortium submitted final bids for London Underground’s Connect project to install and operate a range of network-wide radio communications. The bids must be evaluated against a Public Sector Comparator to ensure value for money, but LU hopes to choose a preferred bidder in December and award the contract next spring. o