Nick Ferrari's fiery debate with train driver who brands driverless tube plans as 'fantasy'

2 June 2021, 09:47

By Fiona Jones

Nick Ferrari challenged train union ASLEF's Finn Brennan who claimed the "fantasy" of driverless tubes "make no economic sense", as TfL is "forced" to explore this avenue.

UK ministers have demanded Transport for London (TfL) pushes ahead with work to introduce driverless trains on the London Underground as part of the £1 billion rescue package announced on Monday.

The Department for Transport will collaborate with TfL to explore the business case for independently automated trains on the Waterloo and City line and the Piccadilly line -- however, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has promised to reject any demands for this rollout.

Train union ASLEF's London director, Finn Brennan, utterly dismissed this concept: "It's just not going to happen, rather like [PM's] fantasies of a Garden Bridge and a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland and an airport in the Thames, it's simply isn't going to happen.

"It makes no economic sense."

Mr Brennan continued that as the arrangement states TfL must explore the "business case" which by no means makes it a certainty, adding, "If there was a business case for driverless trains they wouldn't need the Government to do it, they would have done it years ago."

TfL's last exploration into this showed there was "no cost savings in driverless trains in the underground," Mr Brennan told Nick, who was left in disbelief, branding the estimated figure of £10 billion a "bargain."

Nick then quoted an LBC contributor who is in favour of driverless tubes "because of trade unions."

"I'm very sorry that people don't like trade unions and don't think it's OK that people have a fair deal at work," Mr Brennan said, to which Nick said that "in some instances tube drivers are paid more than doctors."

Nick continued: "Mr Brennan, there's something called modernisation. We don't put boys up chimneys, we don't have people lighting the gaslights of London...we don't just bolt the door in the face of every tube driver but we now move to driverless trains as you get to every airport in the world by now, and the DLR."

Mr Brennan finished by pointing out that DLR trains have a captain aboard and have on occasion also pursued strike action over their treatment.