The rail union ASLEF has published details of what it says is a leaked document which estimates that introducing driverless trains onto the London Underground would be “economically unfeasible”.
It says the detailed 26 page document – compiled in August – which came into the hands of ASLEF, says the cost would be £7 billion, and “effectively shuts the door on one of the government’s demands in return for TfL funding”.
Mick Whelan, general secretary, said, “We know that passengers don’t want driverless trains. Whenever they are asked, they always answer with a resounding “No!” And now we know it is not economically feasible, either.”
Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on London Underground, added, “Leaked internal Transport for London documents demonstrate that it would cost an additional £7 billion, on top of the money needed to upgrade existing lines, to make Underground trains “driverless” and that TfL has concluded that there is, given the evidence, no economic case for doing so. In fact, the cost of conversion would make TfL’s current financial crisis and the long-term funding issues facing TfL much, much worse.”
TfL told the financial newspaper City AM, “The possibilities, costs and benefits of driverless trains are things that TfL has looked at in the past and will continue to keep under review but it is not something we are actively pursuing.”