London Transport (L.T.)
In 1933 the London Passenger Transport Board was formed, popularly known as London Transport (L.T.). This public body took over running of the underground train companies and brought together all the municipal and privately operated tram and bus companies.
Between 1935 and 1940 L.T. expanded and improved the bus and underground networks as part of its extensive New Works Programme. Much of the existing tram system was also redeveloped to create an extensive trolleybus network. Another focus was the creation of a cohesive corporate identity for the new organisation.
During the war, L.T. came under government control, since it was regarded as a vital Home Front service. This was very successful and, in 1948, the London Passenger Transport Board was nationalised and became the London Transport Executive (L.T.E.). It was still commonly referred to as London Transport and its duties and responsibilities were largely the same.
Revenues fell after the war, as L.T. struggled to rebuild war-damaged services. It also experienced significant labour shortages as its wages were comparatively low in a period of full-employment. The organisation recruited across the U.K and then sent agents to the West Indies to find staff.
During this period trams and the trolleybuses were phased out in favour of the more economical diesel buses. In 1954, that the Routemaster was introduced. The trams had been enormously popular and thousands of Londoners turned out to witness Last Tram Week in July 1952.
In 1963 the London Transport Executive was transformed into the London Transport Board, which reported directly to the Minister for Transport. It was clear that more money needed to be invested in L.T., as revenues continued to fall, influenced by an increase in private car ownership.
In particular, new rolling stock was needed for the Underground where most trains pre-dated the war. Large sums were spent on this and on major projects such as the construction of the Victoria Line (the first stage opened in 1969) and the development of the Jubilee Line, which opened in 1979.
New buses were also introduced, notably one person operation single-decker buses. These were first used in 1966 and intended to cut costs.
In 1970, the Underground and the Greater London area bus network once again became the London Transport Executive, now reporting to the new Greater London Council. This put L.T. directly under the control of local politicians and in the long-term this resulted in many improvements in organisation and infrastructure. Importantly, 270 million of debt -- much still left over from the New Works Programme -- was written off and a plan for spending 275 million over the next 20 years was drawn up.
In the early 1980s, the control of L.T. became a political issue. The Conservative government passed legislation to take L.T. away from the Labour controlled G.L.C.
London Regional Transport (L.R.T.) was created in 1984, reporting directly to the Secretary of State for Transport. The organisation was still known as London Transport, although significant changes were made. This included setting up subsidiary companies in 1985 to separately run the Underground and bus services. This reorganisation facilitated privatisation and in 1993 the first private operators took over bus services in London.
In 1999, the Underground was restructured in preparation for Public Private Partnership. In 2000, Transport for London (T.f.L.) was established, once again taking responsibility for London's transport into local government control. T.f.L. has responsibility for London's buses, the River Service, the D.L.R., Croydon Tramlink and, since 2003, the Underground.
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