London Underground

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd February 1987.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Epping Forest 12:00 am, 23rd February 1987

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, when he next meets the chairman of London Regional Transport, he will raise with him the level of services on the London Underground; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , North West Hampshire

Yes, Sir. While I am not complacent, I congratulate him on increasing by 3 per cent. in 1986–87 alone the mileage of trains run on the Underground, and on his plans for further increases this year.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Epping Forest

Is my hon. Friend aware that I am grateful for the interest that he and the chairman are taking in the suffering of my constituents on the Central line? Will sympathetic consideration be given to constructive suggestions which may be made by the Central line users action group and myself?

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , North West Hampshire

Following a lengthy discussion with my hon. Friend, who raised several matters on behalf of his constituents, I have written to the chairman of London Underground Ltd. about them and I shall be in touch with my hon. Friend. As for the line users' association, of course I shall be happy to convey its views as well.

Photo of Mr John Cartwright Mr John Cartwright , Woolwich

When the Minister next meets the chairman of London Regional Transport, will he bear in mind the thousands of south-east London commuters who would love to have an Underground service about which to complain? How long will south-east London remain the forgotten corner of the city when it comes to the development of the Underground system?

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , North West Hampshire

London Underground Ltd. is concentrating on improving its existing network and services. The hon. Gentleman may be interested to know that the number of passengers has gone up by 50 per cent. since 1982 to an all-time record and that some £260 million of investment— the highest ever level— will be carried through this year. We should see those improvements through before we undertake a further extension of the system.

Photo of Mr Hugh Dykes Mr Hugh Dykes , Harrow East

Will my hon. Friend have a word with the management of LRT about the irritating failures of electronic time and destination warning signs, especially on the Northern line? They mostly show flashing correction messages rather than times and destinations.

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , North West Hampshire

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for drawing attention to that matter and I shall pass it on to the chairman and managing director.

Photo of Mr Peter Snape Mr Peter Snape , West Bromwich East

Is the Minister satisfied with the level of service provided by LRT, bearing in mind the number of ticket machines that are switched off or are out of order and the lack of staff issuing or collecting tickets, especially late at night? If there is £20 million to spare in this newly nationalised industry, would it not be better to spend it on providing much needed improvements for passengers who travel on the system than to hand it back to the Government?

Photo of Mr David Mitchell Mr David Mitchell , North West Hampshire

Ratepayers are well satisfied at finding less than half the sum which the GLC would have required in subsidy to mop up the industry. Neither I nor the management are complacent. There are plans for automatic ticketing to be introduced.