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Nine of the world’s deadliest superbugs have been found on the tube

Alexandra Sims

Next time you hop on the tube, you might want to take a large supply of hand sanitiser and a pair of marigolds, because the levels of filth on London’s transport system have been revealed and the results are pretty rank. The microbiology department from London Metropolitan University took 80 swabs of the capital’s trains and buses and found that nine of the world’s most dangerous superbugs are lurking in the transport system’s ‘hotbed of bacteria’.

In fact, the study – carried out in conjunction with taxi insurers Staveley Head – found a grand total of 121 types of bacteria and mould on our trains, buses and taxis; and 95 of those were lurking on our tube system.

If you’re a regular Victoria line commuter you might want to look away now, as it was found to be the dirtiest tube line with 22 different types on bacteria found on board. This included four of the world’s most threatening bugs. Swabs taken from hand rails, seats and walls were found to contain Staphylococcus Aureus – a bacteria known to cause toxic shock syndrome in women who wear tampons for too long – as well as E. coli and the highly dangerous Klebsiella Pneumoniae. Yikes!

In total, nine bacteria from the World Health Organisation’s list of drug-resistant bacteria that pose the biggest risk to human health were found on the tube. The study found that the tube was the dirtiest mode of transport, but buses were the cleanest. Our good ol’ red double deckers contained the least number of bacteria, with just 37 found. Although, several bacteria including traces of E. coli were also found.

Here’s a lovely list of the dirtiest tube lines. Looks like we won’t be so begrudging about giving up our hard-fought-for seat in the future.

Victoria line, 22 bacteria found

Circle line, 20 bacteria found

Piccadilly line, 20 bacteria found

Jubilee line, 18 bacteria found

Northern line, 18 bacteria found

District line, 17 bacteria found

Waterloo & City line, 16 bacteria found

Central line, 16 bacteria found

Hammersmith & City, 14 bacteria found

Bakerloo line, 13 bacteria found

Metropolitan line, 11 bacteria found

Image: Li Shen/Flickr

In other news, this alternative tube map shows the best cycle routes in London.

And London buses are getting a new tube-style colour-coding system.

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