Saturday 18 June 2016

Parts of the Tube Could Be Inoperable Within 15 Years

Tube network 'to be put out of action within 15 years' due to soaring population

Parts of the London Underground will be "inoperable" within 15 years due to the capital's soaring population, a Tube executive has warned.
Miles Ashley, London Underground's programme director for construction, said passengers at up to 50 stations in Zone 1 would face conditions akin to four people crammed into a telephone box.

He said the cause of the problem is the capital's soaring population, which has already been blamed for frequent closures of some stations due to overcrowding.
Transport for London said the Tube network would handle 1.3 billion passengers this year - up from 800million in 2002.
That figure is expected to hit 1.7 billion by 2026 as London's population is forecast to grow from 8.8m to 10.2m by 2030. 

And in a stark warning about the Tube network's capacity to cope with the growth in demand, the Sunday Times reported that Mr Ashley told an audience of engineering researchers at Imperial College London: "I don’t know whether you have ever stood in a telephone box with 3½ of your friends... but ultimately that gives you an illustration of just how crowded parts of these stations are going to be and the challenge that faces us. It renders it inoperable.”

Although the £15bn Crossrail project will boost capacity by 10 per cent when it opens in 2018, Mr Ashley said the increase would have been overtaken by passenger growth by 2026.
And he suggested drivers may be told to simply not stop at some of the most chronically overcrowded stations on the network.

"Sometimes it is more important to get people out," Mr Ashley said.
"If you can’t get people off the platform for the next train to arrive, then you have to run to non-stopping... The ability to empty... platforms is fundamental.”

The predictions were labelled "truly terrifying" by union bosses, who highlighted the overcrowding which already blights stations such as King's Cross, Victoria and Oxford Circus.

Transport for London has said it has one of the "biggest investment programmes in the world" aimed at addressing the problem. 

A spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the Sunday Times: "We need to encourage people to use other forms of public transport and that is why Sadiq will invest in making it safer and easier to walk or cycle.”