London Underground bosses have ruled out driverless trains for the forseeable future, it was revealed today. Trains will continue to have drivers until well into the 2020s after "safety and passenger concerns".Congratulations, chaps! Rather than lift the union’s boot from your throat, you actually decided to give them a nice set of warm slippers so they can press harder without hurting their feet…
Mike Brown, LU managing director, said: "We have always made clear that we will continue to explore new technology as it develops - in common with every other metro around the world and this is what we are doing.
"As we, and the Mayor, have made clear this means looking at the next generation of trains and whether a conventional driver's cab is the most effective model.
"However, let me be clear - there are no plans to test driverless trains on any part of the network."And when is ‘passenger concern’ (as translated by and expressed by the unions) ever not going to be an issue?
I mean, I've never seen passengers being forced onto the DLR, screaming in terror as the driverless machine waited to swallow their souls. And yet, there’s a lot of people who want to persuade us that this is an aberration, and will never work on the Tube:
Caroline Pidgeon, leader of both the Assembly's Lib-Dem group and the transport committee, said: "New technology must be pioneered on the Underground, but I have real concerns about any rush towards driverless trains.
"The bottom line is that the LU is fundamentally different from the DLR. A huge number of safety and passenger concerns have to be fully addressed before we start to contemplate any driverless Tube trains. "I'm a passenger, but I've never been asked for ‘my concerns’. Has anyone?
Is the union celebrating? No. Not yet:
Bob Crow, the RMT leader, said: "If the driverless trains plan has been halted that would be a massive victory for the RMT's campaign. "But we want to see that in writing along with a guarantee that this nonsense has been stopped for good. "Until we get that our battle for both jobs and public safety will continue."Yes, I believe the buggywhip manufacturers guild wanted a similar promise…
Everyone keeps telling me that Boris is a political genius and the natural successor to Cameron. Why is he passing up a chance to do the right thing here?