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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

London Underground boss apologises for track evacuation distress

London Underground apologised after two days of problems on the system which meant that thousands of passengers were stuck on trains and had to walk down tunnels to make their way out.

On Monday, a Jubilee Line power failure meant five train loads of rush-hour passengers had to walk along tunnels to escape. Joan Lockwood one of the passengers described her experience to the
Ham & High newspaper: "Being left underground for close to an hour with minimal communication left the people in our carriage anxious and frightened of what was happening. It was very hot, with no air and not knowing what was happening".

Photo by @HitGirlAssassinl walking through tunnel on Jubilee Line
Photo by @HitGirlAssassin walking through tunnel on Jubilee Line

Then on the following day 400 had to walk down a tunnel on the Victoria line because of a defective train.

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said: "I know that having to walk along the track through a tunnel is distressing. It is not something our customers should have to expect, and is something we always seek to avoid.

"Nevertheless, on the rare occasions when a train is stuck in a tunnel, as soon as it becomes clear that we will not be able to arrange for it to be moved within a reasonable timescale, the safest and best option is to take customers off of the train.

The RMT were quick to jump on these problems and saying they resulted from the overtime ban and cuts in maintenance schedules. Bob Crow said: "We have warned repeatedly that LU/TfL's cuts plans are playing fast and loose with safety and will turn the tube into a death trap. It is a scandal that the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, and his transport officials have chosen to ignore those warnings. The anger of our members who carry out the safety-critical function of maintaining the Tube fleet at the cuts being imposed from above is reflected in this massive vote for action."

However Mike Brown denied this and said: "Despite claims by the RMT that all of these problems result from their current overtime ban this is not the case, except on the Metropolitan line where a programme of essential maintenance on some trains is indeed being delayed by the current disruptive and unnecessary practices urged by the RMT leadership.

"Our customers deserve much better than the service they have had in recent days and all our energies are focused on delivering a fast, reliable and safe service

The release with Brown's statement reminds people of the Customer Charter where if you're delayed for more than 15 minutes by disruption on the Tube you can apply for a refund of your fare. To me, it doesn't seem quite right that the standard charter applies in the case of these passengers though. Shouldn't there be a sliding scale involving incidents where you have to be evacuated?

Update - Random Reflections was also stuck on the Jubilee Line and you can read her post about what happened here.

; Posted by Unknown Wednesday, October 20, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE