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Record usage on the Tube does not have to go hand in hand with record closures and delays due to overcrowding – Caroline Pidgeon

December 11, 2015 7:28 PM

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson, commenting on figures released today by Transport for London showing that Friday 4th December 2015 was the busiest day ever on the London Underground said:

"The increasing use of the Tube is a clear sign of London's growth in both its population and popularity as a place to visit. In many respects it is something to celebrate.

"However we cannot hide away from the fact that delays on the London Underground caused by overcrowding are increasing.

"And despite TfL's continual boasting about certain figures it is incredible that they choose to not even record how often Tube stations are temporarily closed due to overcrowding."

"TfL should face up to this issue by firstly publishing accurate statistics about station closures, secondly ensuring Tube upgrades continue to take place and finally taking steps to manage demand, such as through lower 'early bird' fares to encourage demand on the Tube to be better spread over the day."

"Record usage on the Tube does not have to go hand in hand with record closures and delays due to overcrowding."


Notes to editors

1. Information on Tube delays due to overcrowding on the London Underground can be seen in this Mayoral Question - see table enclosed in the Mayoral Answer.


2. A recent Freedom of Information request made by BBC London confirmed that TfL does not even record figures for temporary closures of Tube stations

Our ref: FOI-1409-1516

Thank you for your email received on 28 October 2015 asking for information about tube stations closures due to overcrowding.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

As requested, please find attached your spreadsheet which we have completed to show the number of closures (Partial and Full) due to Overcrowding and "Other Reasons" for the period 1 October 2014 and 1 October 2015 for the stations requested.

In addition, Local Station Control measures are sometimes required which can result in station entrances being closed and interchange and exit only being introduced for short periods of time. These partial closures are treated as 'business as usual' and usually only recorded locally, if at all, and therefore there are instances of partial closures which are not shown on the attached spreadsheet.

A manual search of the station log books for each of the listed stations would be required to include the details of these closures. The cost of identifying and collating this information would exceed the 'appropriate limit' of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a request if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. In this instance, we estimate that the time required to do this would exceed 18 hours which, at £25 per hour (the rate stipulated by the Regulations), exceeds the 'appropriate limit'.

We recognise that Oxford Circus can get very busy. Our staff carefully manage the flows of customers at the station to ensure a safe travel environment and minimum inconvenience for customers. There are a number of initiatives under way that will assist in reducing crowding at the station:

The stations on either side, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, are being modernised and expanded. As part of this work, the Central line is not currently stopping at Tottenham Court Road, meaning many customers have diverted to Oxford Circus. Once the Central line service is restored at Tottenham Court Road in December this year, we anticipate a reduction in the congestion currently experienced at Oxford Circus. Once the projects at both Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street are finished in 2016 and 2017 respectively they will significantly improve capacity and access; we expect some customers who currently use Oxford Circus will then choose to use these other stations.

Looking further ahead, Crossrail is the new east-west railway line across central London. Services on the central section will begin in 2019. Bond Street Crossrail station will have an entrance at Hannover Square entrance, a short walk away from Oxford Circus. This will do much to improve rail capacity to the Oxford Circus area and attract demand away from Oxford Circus.

As with all of our busy stations we will continue to keep the situation at Oxford Circus under review, including looking at what further measures may be required in future to manage rising demand for travel.

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.


3. Further reports on Tube overcrowding