People ensure terror threat fails to derail London’s transport network

Stephen Hall

HR director, Spencer Group of Companies

Two years have gone by since the horrific 7 July London bombings, which killed and maimed so many people.

Yet, just days ago, two car bombs in London were primed to cause major damage and loss of life and would have done so but for the vigilance of an ambulance crew and traffic wardens.

Then, in Glasgow, two men attempted to drive an improvised car bomb through the main terminal doors of the airport – almost as a snub to Gordon Brown within his country of birth. Luckily, without fatalities.

Following these events, the UK was placed on critical threat level, with the mobilisation of more police and specialist services, while our US allies heightened their own airport security.

Lessons learned from 7/7 mean security issues have been fully reviewed and robust methods have been introduced to enable an exceptionally fast response to major threats to the public.

British Transport Police, The Metropolitan Police and specialist agencies have worked tirelessly to create stringent security measures that protect without undermining the services offered to the public via transport systems, which still offer world-renowned levels of consistent service.

Risk assessment

The Mayor of London’s office and the London Assembly’s Committee have closely scrutinised the service offerings within the capital to ensure that all avenues have been explored to maximise the security coverage and mitigate potential threats, or areas of potential opportunities for those wishing to destabilise services across the capital.

Much has been achieved over the past two years by the London Underground under the mantle of Transport for London.

Quality service

One of the key ingredients in the mix is the quality of the staff that operate the transport systems, which is improving year on year. While it is accepted that a small minority of the staff continue to rebel against the status quo, most are totally committed to a professional and courteous service. There are still the odd occasions when a bus driver tries to heap the passengers into the middle of the bus by braking suddenly, or the London Underground train driver who takes pleasure in a motion of stop-starts that remind you of a fairground ride, but these are few and far between.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, has long campaigned for better pay and conditions for his members, which tend always to end in some form of industrial relations conflict or, let us say, “difficult negotiations”. However, one thing Crow has always strived to achieve is the recognition of the exceptional services that his members deliver, and this cannot be denied by employers or the general public.

Much has been done to improve the services of the London Underground by operators such as Metronet and Tube Lines, coupled with some exceptional improvements in service of the bus network by Transport for London.

Ensuring continuity

With a combined approach to the security issues of the transport network in London, and by using all the expertise at our disposal and, in the main, the professionalism of the staff providing the services to the capital’s 3.5 million daily customers, we can and will overcome any potential threats as long as we remain vigilant. By doing so, we can ensure that London’s transport system remains the “best public service provision in the world”.




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