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One tube station closes every day because of staff shortages

Written by
Alexandra Sims

From never being able to bag a seat at rush hour to overheating in sweaty summer conditions, having a long list of gripes with the tube is part and parcel of being a Londoner. And now there’s a new issue to add to the pile: closures.

Thanks to a Freedom of Information request from the BBC, it’s been revealed that on average one tube station was forced to close every day over one year. And the reason? Staff shortages.

The FoI found that the number of station workers plummeted by 777 people (that’s around 13 percent) between January and December 2016. The impact meant overall there were 360 closures across the entire network in 2016, with 149 in December alone, usually due to staff being moved 'to allow another priority station to open or remain open'. 

Temple station was the biggest closure culprit, being shut 25 times over the year for a total of 57 hours. Canary Wharf and Holland Park also had to close 17 times each because lack of staff could have compromised customer’s safety. Most of the closures (66 percent) took place between midnight and 6am. Queensway holds the record for the longest closure in 2016 after it was shut for 11 hours on Christmas Eve.

In 2013, TfL caused an uproar when it announced it was cutting up to 750 jobs as part of a 'Fit for the Future' strategy, which aimed to move workers from serving customers behind ticket windows to face-to-face service in the ticket hall.

In a recent statement TfL said: 'We have always been clear that we would review the Fit for the Future - Stations model. We have agreed with the trade unions that a further 325 additional new roles will be introduced to the Underground network this year. In total we will be recruiting at least 650 new station staff this year.' 

Here's a list of the five most closed stations in 2016: 

1. Temple – closed 25 times 
2. Canary Wharf – closed 17 times 
3. Holland Park – closed 17 times 
4. Covent Garden – closed 13 times 
5. Goodge Street – closed 13 times 

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