London mayor pledges extra police, safer tube
Andrew Clark Transport correspondent
Monday July 14, 2003
The Guardian

London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, has promised a revolution in security on the London Underground, with hundreds of extra officers to patrol trains and stations once he gains control of the tube tonight.

After a three-year battle, Mr Livingstone will finally get his hands on the network at midnight, when ownership passes to his Transport for London authority.

Bob Kiley, the mayor's transport commissioner, said that among the new management team's top priorities will be extra police. Talks are underway with senior British Transport police officers to allow the entire 1,100-strong force to patrol the tube, he said.

Mr Livingstone has already pledged an extra 100 officers. The mayor has claimed success from a "cops on buses" scheme.

The tube's new managing director will be former US freight train operator Tim O'Toole, whose experience includes running cattle trucks in the American mid-west. He said he was astonished by the poor condition of many crucial elements in the network.

Both critics and allies of the mayor agree that his management of the tube will be crucial to his re-election chances next year. But his aides insist his hands are tied by the public-private partnership contracts that delay major upgrades to tube lines and stations until the second half of the decade.

Meanwhile, Mr Livingstone's road congestion charging scheme finally got a seal of approval from the government, last night, with transport secretary Alistair Darling saying that the mayor's system had "worked".

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