Greg Hands M.P. this week welcomed Mike Brown, the Managing Director of Transport for London for talks in Parliament about improvements to the tube network, particularly those affecting the two boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham.
Thanks to funds allocated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in last October’s Comprehensive Spending Review, after strong representations by London Mayor Boris Johnson, there is better news for hard-pressed local tube users. This is in strong contrast with New York City, for example, where the subway is struggling for funding at present.
At the last census in 2001, Hammersmith & Fulham had more tube users as a percentage of the total population than any other borough in Britain, and the Royal Borough also featured near the top of the list.
Tube use has gone up consistently since then, by 16% since 2004 and the four weeks before Christmas saw a new overall record being set, despite strike action by the militant RMT union.
Mike Brown told Greg that improvements which will better the journeys of local people include:
- · The time spent waiting for a train has declined from 4.8 minutes in 2008 to 3.8 minutes last year.
- · The first entirely new train will be operating on the District Line by the end of 2013. Some of these trains can already be seen on the Metropolitan Line.
- · All District Line rolling stock will be replaced by 2016.
- · Capacity on the District Line will be increased by 24% by 2018, mainly through new signalling (especially at Earl’s Court), but partly through the new trains.
- · Victoria Station will get a comprehensive refit by 2018, similar to the one experienced recently by King’s Cross St Pancras.
- · Lift access will be installed at Green Park station in time for the Olympics.
Nevertheless, Greg continues to be concerned at the prospects of more overcrowding before these measures take effect.
Commenting, Greg Hands M.P. said: “Thanks to the Coalition Government and Boris Johnson, the Tube has a fantastic future. I look forward to these key service changes which will bring further benefit to local tube users in both Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham.”