Book - Managing (Down) the Tube
Book - Managing (Down) The Tube
A Tale of Hard Graft and Shenanigans on the London Underground, by Andrew Melville
The London underground fascinates (and often frustrates) many people, whether they are regular users or not. And the Underground is rarely out of the news for long, with its seemingly continual round of "difficulties" with staff and trade unionists.
This book seeks to describe the practical experiences and gives a political perspective from the view-point of middle and higher managers. It is they who had and have to implement official policies, whist interfacing with other staff and the passengers, who "is the only reason we exist," as Denis Tunnicliffe, a previous MD, put it. They work continually between a rock and a hard place.
The first part of the book is autobiographic, whereas the remainder seeks to explain management issues that have made the Underground's situation somewhat problematic, to say the least.
The Author worked his way up through the ranks and gives a number of anecdotes of his career experience. He also gives a frnak assessment of the management of the Underground and it effects on the running of the system, which are experienced daily by travellers.
His critique of the management of the tube deals with aspects such as:
* Continual governmental interference over the last 40-50 years, seemingly based on the desire to give London the cheapest public transport system, not a good or, even less, the best service.
* Appointment of directors and senior managers, many of whom appeared not to understand the system and thus made flawed decisions when placed in critical situations.
* An increasingly weak management approach toward staff and trades unions, causing bad policies to be followed and resulting in much disruption to the railway and therefore its passengers.
* The foisting of the Public Private Partnership on the system in a vain attempt to avoid the real costs of providing the needed service.
The book is dedicated to all the devoted staff of LUL (London Underground Ltd), who daily tries to keep the system running and who are the real heroes of the railway! And to the author's wife and family, who spent many holidays, week-ends, and nights "home alone" whilst he tried to do his bit!
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