‘No excuse’ for London Underground lifts breaking down for 306 days last year

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Lifts across the London tube network were out of order for a total of 306 days last year despite routine maintenance checks every two weeks, new figures have revealed.

The data showed that 77% of step-free access stations with lifts had faulty equipment in the 12 months to November 2018, leaving disabled passengers unable to access the service.

Chairman of campaign group, Transport for All, told the Evening Standard that the “entirely avoidable outages” cause “real problems” for the people who rely on step-free access.     

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Wheelchair user Christ Stapleton, said: “A lift is not a horrendously complex machine, and there is no excuse for them breaking down as frequently as they do.

“You can never rely on lifts being in service when you need them. I never travel by Tube if I have to arrive somewhere punctually, as an unexpected lift outage might double or treble my journey time, because I would have to resort to buses or taxis.”

Nigel Holness, managing director of London Underground, said: “We understand how challenging it can be for our customers when lifts are temporarily taken out of service and apologise to those who have had their journey disrupted for this reason.

“Our lifts get a routine maintenance check every two weeks, a full MOT every six months and a partial refurbishment every five years. They are fully replaced every 10 to 20 years depending on the type.”

Out of London’s 270 tube stations, the worst station for faulty lifts was Barking, whose equipment was out of order for 42 days, according to a freedom of information request by ES. Tottenham Court Road’s lifts were out of order for more than 37 days.

Just 57 of London’s tube stations have lifts while others employ ramps to allow step-free access.

A year back, London Mayor Sadiq Khan unveiled a new lift contract as part of his £200m tube access overhaul.

The new lifts being installed deliver the same standards of reliability but “at a fraction of the cost and length of time” it previously took to design, manufacture and install.

Tags : liftLiftslondon undergroundsadiq khantube
Joe Peskett

The author Joe Peskett


  1. ” the worst station for faulty lifts was Barking, whose equipment was out of order for 42 days”

    Barking is a Network Rail station managed by c2c, the lifts are nothing to do with TfL or the Tube.

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