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Last Updated: Friday, 2 June 2006, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
London: Down the Tube?
Zia Trench
Zia Trench
Politics Show London

Tube tunnel
Passengers were led along the tracks to safety

Last week hundreds of Tube train passengers were trapped underground for three hours on the Victoria Line.

And over Easter part of the central line was closed for maintenance which never happened, leading to another four days of disruption.

Then there were more delays when trains were run at 20mph because work to "de-stress" the lines in time for Summer had not been finished.

This weekend alone, there are six (partial) line closures and the London Travel Information Line is telling passengers to allow for an extra hour on some journeys.

Lucrative contracts?

At the same time as the disruption, companies in charge of maintaining and upgrading track, cars and stations are making multi-million pound profits.

Since these private companies won the contract from the government, they have made about 100m in profit.

The 30 year-long contracts, worth 15m, are a nice little earner; guaranteeing work for the Metro and Tube lines and will not be reviewed until at least 2009.

The PPP initiative - meaning public and private partnerships - was introduced to the tubes in 2003 came about because ministers were losing faith in London

Underground's ability to carry out the work itself, following the Jubilee line extension which over-ran to considerable expense.

It has been said that it was also a way for the Treasury to take the cost of the tube off its books but following continued criticism and only moderate improvements it seems it's the passengers who are paying the price.

Coffeehouse Challenge

We also take a look at the Coffeehouse Challenge, a joint venture with the BBC's social action campaign.

The Coffeehouse Challenge aims to get communities together to talk about the pressing issues in society and what can be done to solve them.

One issue concerns the inability to find healthy snack food and which snack mixes should go in vending machines, priced the same as chocolate, to give children a reasonable choice.

The Politics Show London

Join us on the Politics Show next week, Sunday 11 June 2006 at 12:00 on BBC One.

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