Home London News Exclusive: Tubes delayed 170 times a year due to overcrowding

Exclusive: Tubes delayed 170 times a year due to overcrowding

7th Jan 15 8:00 am

We crunch the numbers on the big squeeze

Londoners have been delayed almost 900 times since 2010 because of overcrowding on the Tubes, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from LondonlovesBusiness.com has revealed.

The figures, that denote the number of incidents which have caused train delays of two minutes or more, show that the Central Line saw the maximum number (158) of delays due to overcrowding since 2010.

The Jubilee Line has seen 148 delays, and the Victoria Line has seen 129 delays in total since 2010.

Overcrowding has caused Tube delays on average 169.4 times a year in this period.


Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon

Caroline Pidgeon AM, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, told LondonlovesBusiness.com that overcrowding is alarming and that frequency of trains should be increased.

“While there has been some reduction in Tube delays in the last few years it is a real concern that delays caused by overcrowded trains remain so high, especially on the Jubilee Line,” she said.

“These figures provide a powerful case for further increasing the frequency of trains on this line in particular.”

“Investment is crucial”

David Leam, head of infrastructure at business group London First, said that with employment in the capital projected to rise by 700,000 over the next 20 years and the capital’s population expected to rise by 1.5 million to almost 10 million, it was hardly surprising the network was under strain.

“Such rapid population growth will only intensify the overcrowding pressures presently experienced by many commuters and reinforce the need for additional capacity from the mid 2020s onwards.

“London now needs to look beyond projects like Crossrail and accelerate planning on the next generation of projects such as Crossrail 2,” he said.

Andy Silvester, campaign manager, The TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Clearly the pressures on our transport network are only going to increase, so investment in infrastructure is crucial.

“Politicians in Westminster and in City Hall must wage war on wasteful spending in other areas so that we’re able to fund important upgrades in the capital and indeed across the country without jeopardising the important work of eliminating the deficit and paying back our debt.

“We also need to look at using our existing transport infrastructure better, ensuring that resources like buses, London Overground, the Croydon tram system and our roads work as efficiently as possible to take the pressure off the Tube.”


The figures in full

Here are the figures in full. This data is from January 2010 up to and including October 13, 2014. It shows the number of delays of two minutes or more caused by overcrowding on each Tube line:

  Bakerloo Central C&H District Jubilee Metropolitan Northern Piccadilly Victoria Waterloo & City Sum:
2010 10 43 5 13 18 6 24 11 17 6 153
2011 10 65 11 31 35 4 23 26 27 1 233
2012 12 16 8 23 24 3 14 17 27 1 145
2013 17 14 11 24 40 1 8 29 31   175
2014 12 20 9 10 31 2 19 10 27 1 141
Total 61 158 44 101 148 16 88 93 129 9 847


What London Underground has to say…

London Underground crowding - commuters battle

In a statement, London Underground said: “London Underground has an average of 24.3 million passenger journeys a week, with 1.2 billion journeys made last year. The system is operating intensively at capacity, so a single interruption can quickly create a domino effect of delays.

“For example, if a customer is taken ill on a train – that in turn can lead to a train being held in platform for a few minutes, while help is summoned, during which time, the time between trains has stretched from a minute-and-a-half to three or four minutes, allowing platforms to overcrowd and causing queuing at the busiest stations.

“The Tube’s line upgrades will increase capacity by 30% across the network”

“We’ve already made fantastic inroads into improving reliability, at the same time as carrying record numbers of passengers, upgrading the network and keeping some of the oldest trains and signalling in Europe going until they too can be replaced.

“The Tube’s line upgrades recently completed or in progress cover the Jubilee, Victoria, Northern, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, District and Circle lines, and will increase capacity by around 30% across the network. Additional cars on the London Overground will increase capacity by 25% by the end of 2015.”

The figures come as commuters were hit by “dangerous overcrowding” at London Bridge Station yesterday that caused train delays of up to 45 minutes. This was after the rail station was partially closed during December for major engineering works.


Twitter’s abuzz with Londoners complaining about overcrowding on the Tube. Here a few tweets posted all through last year:




For more tweets, search “Tube overcrowding” on Twitter

Are you happy with your Tube journeys? Leave your comments below or tweet us your thoughts @Londonlovesbiz

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