Exclusive: Londoners not minding the gap. Tube accidents rocket 432% since 2003

RMT union blasts “poisonous cocktail of cuts and overcrowding” for huge rise in injuries

For generations, Londoners have been indoctrinated into safety by recordings and notices imploring them to “mind the gap” between train and platform. The three words have become a celebrated cultural export across the planet.

But for some reason, the system is failing. The gap between train and platform has become a chasm into which hundreds of people are now falling every year.

An FOI request by London Loves Business reveals that in 2003, a grand total of 56 incidents were recorded. This number has increased every year to 2014 (the last full set of figures available), when an astonishing 298 such incidents were recorded.

This is an increase in the number of accidents of 432% overall.

TfL records these mishaps as “PTI falls”. PTI stands for “platform train interface”, and is what TfL calls the troublesome gap/doors area.

But there are now far more passengers

Of course, having a growing number of humans using the Tube would naturally make the frequency of accidents rise, and indeed, the number of passengers on the underground has shot up in recent years.

According to TfL’s figures, since 2003 there has been a 34% increase in passengers on the Tube.

But the rise in frequency of accidents has not been proportionate.

Back in 2002/3 a total of 942 million passenger journeys were made according to TfL, and a total of 56 PTI falls were recorded for 2003.

Those 56 falls made up 0.00005% of all journeys, or 1 in 17 million journeys.

By 2013/14 though, 1.26 billion passenger journeys were undertaken on the Tube, and a total of 298 PTI falls were recorded for 2014.

These 298 falls made up 0.00236% of all journeys that year, or 1 in 4.2 million journeys.

So, though the overall percentages are very small, the figures reveal that as passenger numbers have risen, the proportional frequency of accidents has risen by 75.2%.

Tube aargh

“Safest big railway in Europe”

TfL said: “Incidents of our customers being injured getting on and off Tube trains are rare, with less than one in every four million journeys last year.

“The safety and welfare of all our customers and staff is always our top priority, and the Office of Rail and Road Regulation’s Health and Safety statistics indicate that the Tube is the safest big railway in Europe.

“Poisonous cocktail”

The RMT union, which has been instrumental in staging strikes over recent changes to the Underground service, which include staffing cuts and the proposed Night Tube service, has responded angrily to the figures.

Speaking to London Loves Business, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “These shocking figures can be put down to the poisonous cocktail of station staffing cuts and severe overcrowding which is wrecking the safety culture on London Underground.

“RMT has warned that passenger safety is being compromised but the Mayor and his officials have ignored us. These figures should be the wakeup call that forces those running the tube to halt their cuts programme.”

Below are the figures for incidents on the Tube.

Please note: the figures for 2015 are not complete as London Loves Business submitted its freedom of information request on 2 December 2015.

Mind the Gap FOI figures 2015

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Anonymous

    It's mostly men distracted by all the hot EU girls.

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