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Tuesday, 17 July, 2001, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Kiley's clashes over Tube future
London Underground tube
Bob Kiley warned Tube safety could be jeopardised
From the moment London transport commissioner Bob Kiley arrived in the capital he has been at odds with the government over the future of the Tube.

He has continued to condemn the Public Private Partnership (PPP) as unwise and unworkable and not the solution to improving London's Underground system as Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and the Treasury believe.

Bob Kiley
Bob Kiley has been given his marching orders

The transport guru has warned in no uncertain terms that the plan is "fatally flawed," and that the safety of passengers would be put at risk.

Mr Kiley claimed ministers are "prisoners of dogma" over a scheme which does not allow sufficient accountability to ensure passenger safety.

"This is a prescription for disaster," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme earlier this month.

Like London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who brought him in to run the Underground system, he favours the issuing of bonds to finance the Tube.

The American is credited with improving the subway system in New York.

Tube investment

But the government has remained steadfast in its determination to push ahead with plans for a public-private partnership to modernise the network.

Transport Secretary Stephen Byers
Byers: PPP is the way forward for revitalising the Tube

Transport Secretary Stephen Byers says a "publicly run, privately built" underground would unlock 13bn through fares, private companies and government funding to revitalise the Tube over the next five years.

Mr Byers announced this month that three private consortia would take over the tracks, stations and signalling for a 30 year re-building programme while the trains continued to be run by London Underground.

Controversial negotiations

It was before the general election in May that Mr Kiley was appointed by the then Transport Secretary John Prescott to lead the controversial negotiations over the Tube with the private sector.

But this was a job in which he was unlikely to succeed given his staunch opposition to PPP.

And indeed a few weeks ago Mr Kiley said he was not happy with the negotiations and convinced that the scheme was flawed.

In sacking Mr Kiley as chairman of the London Regional Transport, Mr Byers said he had "tried to use his board position to block negotiations" with private firms on "contracts for the revitalisation of London Underground".

Court action

But Mr Kiley will continue to fight the government's Tube plans in his post as transport commissioner.

He and Mayor Livingstone will make a last ditch attempt to stop PPP by taking the government to court on Monday.

They will say that the plan breaches the legal duty to run a safe and efficient underground system.

However whether they succeed remains to be seen as Mr Kiley's plans for underground improvements within three years with a focus on services and rolling-stock paid by publicly issued bonds have already been rejected by the government.

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See also:

17 Jul 01 | UK Politics
London transport guru sacked
06 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Tube boss gives new safety warning
06 Jul 01 | Business
Tube reforms to go ahead
03 May 01 | Facts
The London Underground
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