New data from WorkForce Software, the global provider of cloud-based workforce management solutions, has revealed that Transport for London (TfL) workers at London’s tube stations suffered an average of 245 incidences of abuse per month during the height of the pandemic (April 2020 and December 2021).
Gathered through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the data highlights that frontline transport workers faced 161 verbal assaults, 58 threats and 24 physical assaults per month.
During this period, TfL employees faced 2,448 incidences of abuse due to fare evasion and revenue disputes. The correlation between revenue disputes and abuse towards staff is cause for concern in 2022, given that TfL increased prices by 4.8% in March, which is the largest fare increase for London rail passengers since 2013.
Tube stations reporting the highest number due to fare evasion and revenue disputes:
- Victoria (74)
- Notting Hill Gate (66)
- Euston (56)
- King’s Cross St Pancras (53)
- Oxford Circus (45)
King’s Cross most abusive station in London
TfL staff at King’s Cross were abused over 140 times, making it the most abusive tube station for workers during the pandemic. Oxford Circus was the worst for physical assault, with 16 incidences between April 2020 and December 2021. Meanwhile, Notting Hill Gate was worst for verbal and gesture abuse, with 101 cases reported, followed by King’s Cross (99) and Victoria (95). In 2021, Stratford overtook Waterloo as London’s busiest tube station and reported 91 incidents of abuse. Waterloo, however, reported no threats or verbal abuse in 2021.
Tube stations reporting the highest number of incidences of abuse of staff:
- King’s Cross St Pancras (147)
- Victoria (137)
- Notting Hill Gate (113)
- Euston (112)
- Oxford Circus (91)
- Stratford (91)
- Warren Street (90)
- London Bridge (81)
- Earl’s Court (70)
- Camden Town (61)
“Sadly, abuse is a daily risk for many frontline workers,” said Steve Tonks, Senior Vice President EMEA at WorkForce Software.
“While TfL will increase fines for fare evasion by 25 percent, this is unlikely to minimise the incidences of abuse towards staff that are linked to fare evasion and revenue disputes. With the UK currently facing ‘the most difficult economic year of our lifetime’, now is the time for employers to invest in the safety of their frontline workers.
“Modern workforce management technologies can enable organisations to create a safe, more productive environment for their frontline staff.
“Harnessing such technologies will not only streamline internal communications and enable significant cost savings for the employer, but most importantly demonstrate support for frontline staff by empowering them to report incidences of abuse in real-time.
“In turn, this will provide critical data for leadership to better understand the reality their workers are facing, enabling data-driven decision-making to mitigate and minimise incidences of abuse and improve the employee experience.”