Escalators on the Underground

MQT on 2017-08-10
Session date: 
August 10, 2017
Question By: 
David Kurten
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


To ask the Mayor how many escalators on the London Underground have been out of service at any one time over the last three years and what steps are currently being taken to improve in-service availability.


Answer for Escalators on the Underground

Answer for Escalators on the Underground

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Escalator availability on the Tube network overall is very good and is improving year on year. Availability has increased from 96.6 per cent in 2014/15 to 97.6 per cent in 2015/16 and 97.7 per cent in 2016/17.


London Underground's escalators are heavy duty machines which operate for over 20 hours per day, 364 days a year, carrying millions of passengers. Keeping escalators in top condition helps ensure the safety and accessibility of the Tube network.


Like trains, track and lifts, Transport for London (TfL) has a programme of maintenance and renewal for its escalators, which must be refurbished every 20 years and replaced every 40 years. TfL plans escalator refurbishments carefully to keep disruption to customers to a minimum while allowing the necessary work to take place.


The majority of unplanned escalator closures are generally for a short period of time. Around 80 per cent of escalators taken out of service for unplanned maintenance are returned to service within three hours and around 95 per cent in less than a day. TfL is currently trialling a new app for station staff to report escalator failures more quickly and get them fixed sooner.


For both planned and unplanned closures, TfL informs customers of the closures gives travel advice.


The number of escalator closures in 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 were:


Year Planned Unplanned
2014/15 106 2,750
2015/16 71 2,819
2016/17 49 3,191