Newslinks | 27th June 2007

The NewsEditorComment

Call to end 'abysmal' rail firm "The "abysmal service" of a private rail company means it should lose its franchise, a passenger watchdog says.

"London TravelWatch is to write to the government after complaints about First Great Western's (FGW) late trains, overcrowding and poor customer care."

Peers backtrack over London mayor

"Opposition peers, who last week voted to stop Ken Livingstone standing for a third term as London Mayor, have attempted to backtrack.

"Liberal Democrat spokesman Baroness Hamwee and Baroness Hanham, for the Tories, said they had not meant the change to apply to next year's contest." [from BBC News Online]

Metronet owners take £220m hit from project

"Metronet, the private consortium that is upgrading two-thirds of the London Underground's infrastructure, has been written off as worthless by two of the joint venture's owners keen to draw a line under the potential financial impact of the controversial project.

"WS Atkins, the country's largest engineering consultant, and Balfour Beatty, the engineering and construction company, booked a combined exceptional charge of more than £220m on the investment in the Tube project. Both companies remain committed to the project and expect to book a profit over the life of the 30-year contract. Yet due to uncertainty over responsibility for delays and subsequent cost over-runs related to upgrading the London Underground's infrastructure, WS Atkins has booked a £121m exceptional loss on its Metronet investment; Balfour Beatty has booked a £100m one-off charge. Atkins had previously guided toward a £36m loss." [from The Independent]

Central London waves goodbye to parking meters

"Parking meters in central London have been consigned to the dustbin of history after Westminster Council announced today the decision to rollout Pay by Phone Parking across the city.

"Westminster Council introduced cashless parking in the West End and one other area last year in a six month pilot to reduce the theft from parking meters and to also make life easier for motorists through coin-free convenience and remote top-ups." [from]