Politics

Huge rise in accidents on Tube escalators because people frightened to hold rail

There has been a rise in the number of people falling down London Underground escalators because of fears of catching Covid from touching the handrails.

Transport for London has noticed more and more accidents occurring and have also blamed some of the incidents on drunk people celebrating lockdown restrictions easing.

The number of deaths or serious injuries on the Tube has risen since last year, with 12 occurring between April and June 2021, it has been reported.

“Hesitancy to hold the handrail,” causes lots of falls according to TfL chiefs.

READ MORE:London Underground: Passenger stranded ‘all night’ after accidentally getting off at abandoned Tube station

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This hesitancy stems from the fear of catching Covid despite TfL’s extensive cleaning regime using anti-viral fluid.

Imperial College London did not find Covid traces on the underground rails during their tests on the network.

“There is an issue with the perception that the handrail is not clean because of the pandemic,” Andy Lord, managing director of the London Underground, told the Evening Standard.

“We are spending a huge amount of time and money and resources cleaning the handrail, as well as the UV cleaners that are being steadily rolled out across the entire network. We are looking at what further communications we can do to raise awareness of that.”

He added: “The other bigger issue is intoxication. We have seen a spike as the various stages of lockdown have been reduced, with particular spikes initially on Thursday and Friday evenings and then weekends.”

Escalators in Hyde Park Corner London Tube Station
Escalators in Hyde Park Corner Tube Station

So far 93 escalators have had ultraviolet light devices added to handrails to fight Covid.

An additional 340 will be in place on the network by the end of the year.

Waterloo Station and busy areas like the West End have seen the most accidents.

TfL’s data also shows a rise in the number of injuries linked to intoxication.

A report to TfL’s safety committee said: “The number of people killed or injured has increased with the return of customers to the network.

“The rate of injuries which happened on stairs and escalators have remained relatively high. There has also been a slight uplift in the rate of injuries with intoxication a factor.”

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