Oral Update to the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
September 12, 2019
Question By: 
Susan Hall
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Susan Hall AM:  Thank you, Chair.  Mr Mayor, I note that in your opening comments yet again you concentrated on Brexit.  I also note that since 2 September [2019] you have written to every MP about Brexit, you have put out a press release regarding Brexit, and you have tweeted five times about Brexit.


Since 2 September, anybody using the Metropolitan line has had a hellish commute both in and out of London.  You have not apologised.  You are responsible for TfL.  Would you like the opportunity to apologise to all of those poor travellers?


Oral Update to the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [2]

Oral Update to the Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  There were two issues, Chair, raised in the question and I am sure it would be in order for me to respond to both of the issues.  One is Brexit ‑‑


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  Not the Brexit one, no.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  OK.


Jennette Arnold OBE AM (Chair):  This update, just to remind Members, now is to the specific question and that was about the Metropolitan line and so we will not go to Brexit in your response.  It was a nice introduction but let us stay with the Metropolitan line.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Can I thank all the TfL staff, particularly EU citizens, who work so hard on the Metropolitan line.  I am concerned that the ability of the Metropolitan line service to continue to improve will be diminished if some of these EU staff leave London as a consequence of no deal.


The Metropolitan line is a really important line, Chair, and that is one of the reasons why I echo the apology from TfL in relation to the disruption caused to Metropolitan line customers.  Many of the customers are EU citizens as well.  It is really important, whether you are a customer or whether you are a member of staff, that you are looked after.


I would say this, though, and I have looked into whether alternatives could have been done.  TfL has said that the only alternative would have been to close the network on a very large number of additional weekends, which in TfL’s judgement would have been much more disruptive to Londoners.


Of course I echo the apology from TfL.  We are making changes to a line that is more than 150 years old and I apologise for any interruption caused to Metropolitan line customers.


Susan Hall AM:  All right.  I must not mistake you for somebody who actually cares, Mr Mayor.  Can you give me - or all those tens of thousands of people - a date for when the current issues on the Metropolitan line will be resolved?


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  It will be some time.  This line was first built in 1834 and the previous Mayor delayed investment in this line.  There are going to be 15 signalling sections introduced under a phased approach.  This was the second of 15 signalling sections.  This disruption is to be experienced, hopefully, mainly at the second and third signalling rollouts whilst drivers are familiarised with the new system in a live environment.  Once all drivers are familiarised, this should no longer be an issue.


In the meantime, Chair, TfL will be reviewing its plans to ensure any lessons can be applied when future sections of signalling are introduced to ensure disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.


Although I apologise for the disruption, I do not apologise for - unlike the previous Mayor - investing in the modernisation of these four very important lines, which will increase capacity by more than 60%.


Susan Hall AM:  I will leave it.