Newham tube stations named as worst for lift closures

The lifts at East Ham station were closed 191 times last year due to a lack of trained staff

The lifts at East Ham station were closed 191 times last year due to a lack of trained staff - Credit: Archant

Nearly two-thirds of lift closures at tube stations caused by staffing issues took place in Newham last year, figures have shown.

Liberal Democrat London assembly member Caroline Pidgeon

Liberal Democrat London assembly member Caroline Pidgeon - Credit: Archant

Lifts inside East Ham, Canning Town and West Ham stations were forced to close 213 times in 2016 due to a shortage of trained staff, with nearly 90 per cent of these happening in East Ham station.

This equates to 65 pc of overall closures in London during the same period, some of which lasted as long as 25 hours.

Liberal Democrat London assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, who raised the issue during Mayor of London’s Question Time in February, said Newham passengers had been treated in an “appalling” manner.

She said: “When tube lifts stop operating with no prior notice, the station is in effect closed for disabled people, parents with buggies and everyone else who relies on the operation of lifts.”

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“It is time the mayor {of London} finally got a grip on this issue and ensured these types of closures stop occurring.”

Mrs Pidgeon said she first became aware of the problem after numerous complaints by residents on social media about out-of-service lifts

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The mayor of London’s office written reponse to Ms Pidgeon stated that such closures occured when untrained shift staff were on duty in the temporary absence or sickness of regular employees.

It stated: “Historically, there has been a need for two members of staff to be present for lifts to operate.

“This was a particular issue at East Ham station early and late in the day, when sometimes only one member of staff was present.”

Health and safety reviews have recently confirmed that East Ham station only needs one member of staff to operate lifts.

TFL have also promised to recruit 325 extra staff across London in 2017, to avoid such frequent closures happening again.

Mark Wild, London Underground’s managing director, said:‎“We understand how difficult it can be for our customers when lifts are temporarily taken out of service and we apologise for the disruption this causes.

“We sometimes need to do this for short periods of time while we deal with the absence of staff trained in the safe operation of lifts. We aim to keep these occasions to the absolute minimum.”

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