Exclusive: Londoners lose 15 million hours to Tube delays in 2013

Central Line commuters suffer maximum delays

Londoners have lost almost 15 million hours - the equivalent of some 1,593 years - because of Tube delays this year.

The new figures come from a Freedom of Information request by LondonlovesBusiness.com.

We can also reveal that between 1 January 2013 and 13 September 2013, the Central Line was the worst Tube line for delays, racking up almost 2.4 million hours in “lost customer hours”.

At number two was the Jubilee line with over 2.3 million hours in lost customer hours.

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Waterloo and City




The Victoria line and District line came in at the third and the fourth place for worst Tube lines, with over 1.7 million hours and 1.6 million hours wasted respectively.

London Underground calculates Tube “lost customer hours” (LCH) taking into account the total additional journey time as a result of delays that lasted more than two minutes. Delays at a busy location or during peak hours results in more lost customer hours as more customers are affected.

Hence an incident at Oxford Circus during a weekday peak will give rise to a much higher LCH value than an incident of the same duration in Zone 6 on a Sunday morning as the delay is multiplied by the estimated number of passengers.

The number of Tube delays have been reduced by 37% since 2008/09, and 56% since 2003.

Last year, London mayor Boris Johnson promised to cut tube delays by 30% by 2015 and reduce annual lost customer hours by a further 8.7 million hours.

London Underground wrote in the Freedom of Information request to us: “The continuing trend of long-term improvement follows the success of the London Underground Reliability Programme. London Underground continues to implement this programme to meet the Mayor’s commitment of reducing delays by a further 30% by 2015.”

Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Huge damage is done to the economy by the time people waste on Tube platforms or stationary trains due to delays. The millions of hours lost to Tube delays every year are not only causing inconvenience and hassle to those directly affected, but end up hitting all taxpayers.

“It is reassuring that delays have been reduced in recent years, but London Underground bosses cannot afford to be complacent and must work to reduce the figure further.”

Caroline Pidgeon AM, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, said: “The one thing that is definitely on schedule is that London will see 20 million lost customer hours on the Tube by the end of the year.

“While this figure might be an improvement on the appalling previous years’ figures it is still a staggering waste of time for hard pressed passengers.

“The Mayor should put real effort into reducing the level of delays on the Tube rather than boasting about its current performance.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • It is truly amazing how people can be so shortsighted....the London Underground is ANCIENT....it runs nearly all day and night - and people get really ratty about it not improving! I'll tell you something, I have been using it for a very, very long time and it is MUCH better than it ever has been - with a few exceptions. However, if there is one thing that does cause a lot of trouble it is the USERS. Impatient, careless and self centred in so many cases. Forcing doors open when they have all but closed, jamming themselves onto a train that is already crammed full....I could go on. The service runs despite a lot of disadvantages and whilst I can't stomach Boris crowing about anything much I'd say he was more right than the moaning minnies. Perhaps it might be fairly obvious to everyone that there are far too many people using the trains and buses in London at certain times. Does it not occur to anyone that the real problem is that the demand is far too high???? There is only so much any system can take and the Underground has been under severe pressure for years from people who demand a level of service a great many of them could never achieve themselves. It is galling to have so many delays but a great many of those delays are caused by the passengers - or customers as they like to call them nowadays.

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