It’s turning into a bad month for the private companies which pick our pockets and strangle our railways. Last week, the well-publicised travails of Britain’s worst company, First Group, led the Government to warn that it might strip them of their Thameslink (aka “First Capital Connect”) franchise.
After I wrote my weekly newspaper column about Last Group, my inbox filled up with tales of woe about Worst’s wretched train (and especially bus) services. I also highly recommend the amusing firstcrapitalconnect parody website (“This train has been cancelled. This is due to no decent management being available.”)
And I loved the First manager in the Herts Advertiser who admitted: “Many feel we are totally incompetent.” News on a par with the religion of the Pope and the sanitary habits of bears in woods – but nice to hear it from the horse’s mouth!
This morning, it’s the turn of Tube Lines, the sole remaining child of the disastrous PPP. TL has received a thorough kicking from an independent arbiter appointed to rule on its claim that the public purse should pay it yet more money for its incompetence in delaying the Jubilee Line upgrade. “Labyrinthine, artifical, and unconvincing,” he called Tube Lines’ case.
Here are some more quotes from the arbiter that didn’t make it into our report:
“In the 6 files of documents provided by Tube Lines on this subject … there is not one letter from Tube Lines that supports the complaints now made.”
“There is an air of unreality about the complaints Tube Lines now makes.”
“What [Tube Lines] now submits is markedly different from that which occurred
contemporaneously…Tube Lines’ case… appears to have been fashioned with the benefit of hindsight.”
Oh dear. Boris, as I’ve reported before, is quite rightly trying to get rid of Tube Lines. One-nil to him, I think.