Transport for London trials of mobile phone network on the Tube
Labour Representation Committee: July 28, 2005
In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks on the London Underground, Labour MPs and members of the travelling public reacted with astonishment at the revelation that Transport for London (TfL) appears set on pressing ahead with its trial for the introduction of mobile phone on the tube.
TfL confirmed today that the proposal has been put out to tender, and trial are due to begin early 2006. This is despite the fear that bombers can use mobile phones to detonate their explosives by remote control.
A TfL statement claimed that "there have been no examples of mobile phones signals being used to trigger explosions", but John McDonnell MP, Chair of the Labour Representation Committee, said: "We need to look at this very carefully. It is utterly incomprehensible to go ahead with this policy at this stage."
"When everyone using the tube is so concerned about safety after the terrible events of July 7, this is the last thing we need. There must be a complete review of the safety standards of these proposals in light of the terrorist threat, before we proceed any further."
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A Statement today from TfL said: "Transport for London (TfL) intend to continue with steps to trial mobile phone technology on the London Underground. TfL called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from companies interested in providing mobile phone and new technology on the Underground in March 2005. The closing date for receipt of EOI's was 30 June 2005. TfL are in the process of considering these submissions. Depending on the results, TfL may trial mobile phone technology on at an Underground station in 2006.
While we understand the concern from the public following the London attacks, there have been no examples of mobile phones signals being used to trigger explosions, though we are aware of instances where they have been used as timing devices (such as in Madrid). This timer functionality is enabled on mobile phones with or without a signal."