Tube Delays: Central Line

tube speeding pastThe Central Line suffered the highest level of delays of any line on the Tube network in 2014/15. Apart from industrial action, which happens in one off events, the biggest cause of delay was train fleet problems. This accounted for more delays on the Central Line than any other.

Transport for London measures delays in what it calls Lost Customer Hours (LCH). These are calculated by multiplying the delays in minutes by the number of passengers. TfL records all delays over 2 minutes. It uses the financial year from April to March and splits the year in 13 equal periods for performance measurement.

Data in the London Underground Performance Almanac for the last full year shows there was an average of 410,144 Lost Customer Hours per period on the line. That is 29% higher than the second most delayed line, the Jubilee.

LCH Central

Over the past 10 years as Lost Customer Hours have been reduced across the network the Central line has remained a persistent offender. It has shown the least improvement in all lines since 2003/04.

The Central Line opened in in 1900 and its flat fare of 2 old pennies from Bank to Shepherd’s Bush earned it the nickname of the Tuppenny Tube. In the 1990s it became the second line after the Victoria to introduce automated operations where the train is largely controlled by a computer system monitored by a driver. Unlike the Victoria Line, automated operations are not a significant cause of lost hours on the line.

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See also

Central Line leads the lost hours league table of your Tube delays

Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

Passenger data reveals busiest stations where Tube strike will hit hardest

Central Line leads the lost hours league table of your Tube delays

tube train interiorIf you are stuck on a platform waiting for a train or stranded in a tunnel aboard one Tube disruptions are frustrating, particularly when you are commuting and on a tight schedule. But how bad is your line?

At Urbs we have been looking at the reasons for Tube delays and the record for individual lines over the most recent 12-month period. So if you are asking yourself, “Why does this always happen to me?” Urbs has drawn up the Lost Hours League so you can check whether your line has been particularly afflicted.

Transport for London measures delays in what it calls Lost Customer Hours (LCH). These are calculated by multiplying the delays in minutes by the number of passengers. TfL records all delays over 2 minutes. It uses the financial year from April to March and splits the year in 13 equal periods for performance measurement.

The data for delays is gathered in the London Underground Performance Almanac. Urbs examined the LCH for each line for April 2014 to March 2015.

The Central Line was by far the worst performer with an average 410,000 lost hours per period. That’s 29% higher than the next worse in the list, the Jubilee Line.

Tube LCH League Table

The best performance was the Waterloo and City Line, but as it travels only between 2 stations, Waterloo and Bank, that should be expected. The best performance by a major tube line was the Bakerloo Line.

Looking at the record over the course of the year it is possible to see that the Central Line’s performance is distorted by huge spikes in lost customer hours in April/May and August/September. This is largely due to industrial action.

Tubes lines delays 2014-15

Looking back over 10 years reveals why the Northern earned the nickname the misery line and how the Piccadilly line also had big problems. The network performance is better than a decade ago but those two lines have seen particular improvement.

Tube LCH 10 years

While most lines have steadily reduced levels of disruption the Jubilee and the Central lines have struggled to improve performance at the same rate.

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Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

Passenger data reveals busiest stations where Tube strike will hit hardest

 

Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

tube coming to station-2The Tube strike hitting London today will bring chaos to the city as millions who rely on the Underground to get to work resort to cars, bikes and unfamiliar bus routes to navigate their journeys.

Industrial action brings the system to a halt and has a catastrophic impact on the statistics TfL uses to measure the performance of the Tube. But away from strike days how is that performance measuring up, and what lies behind all those delayed trains and long waits in tunnels? Urbs decided to find out.

The good news is that the performance in terms of delays is getting better – 56% better looking at the average for 2003 to 06 compared to the last 3 years according to Urbs analysis – but as everyone seems to know anecdotally, some lines are better than others.

We looked at the statistics on delays for the past 10 years in what TfL calls the London Underground Performance Almanac. The key measurement is called Lost Customer Hours. This benchmark is calculated by multiplying the delays in minutes by the number of passengers. TfL records all delays over 2 minutes.

TfL uses the financial year from April to March and splits the year in 13 equal periods for performance measurement. Back in 2003/04 the average number of Lost Customer Hours (LCH) per period was 4 million. By last year it had come down to 1.7 million.

Put another way, in 2003/04 the Tube had a total of 52.2 million LCH, and in 2014/15 22.6 million. As it is quite hard to get your head around that number of hours, a year is 8,760 hours. An 80-year lifetime (current average London male life expectancy) is 700,800 hours. So delays have reduced from 74 London lifetimes to 32.

This may be good to know next time you feel you have waited a lifetime for a Tube, but what causes delays when it is not striking drivers?

Most lost hours are caused by problems with the train fleet, signals and what TfL calls customer actions. As our multi-coloured chart shows, the red, pink and black blocks representing these causes feature strongly every year.

Tube Causes LCH

The chart also shows the impact of one-off events such as strike action in 2010/11 and 2013/14, marked in orange, and the security clampdown following the 7/7 bomb attacks in 2005/06, marked in blue, which contributed 10.4 million LCH that year.

One-off events cause major disruption but their impact comes in precise peaks. The orange in the chart below shows how industrial action contributed to Lost Customer Hours last year, but the consistent problems were the red, pink and black blocks of fleet, signal and customer caused delays.

Tube LCH 2014-15

While overall performance has improved some lines are doing better than others. The Northern Line is most improved, though many of its regular users will tell you that it needed to be. The Central line has made the least progress in 10 years.

Tube delay improvement

In the past 12 months the Central Line has continued to struggle at times and delays have increased recently on the Jubilee Line.

Tubes lines delays 2014-15

The disruption of strike action is severe but mercifully short-lived. The longer term causes of delay are the key variables in any mass transit system – its trains, reliability of infrastructure and passengers. Next time you’re stuck take heart and remember, the trend is for fewer delays.

Source data

See also

Passenger data reveals busiest stations where Tube strike will hit hardest

Crime down nearly a third in 5 years on buses, Tube and trains

How TfL may be key to success for Apple Pay in the UK

 

 

How TfL may be key to success for Apple Pay in the UK

Oyster Reader Tom Page Wikimedia commonsApple Pay arrived in the UK this week and one measure of its success will be how it performs on the London transport network.

Apple Pay allows people to use their iPhones in the same way as a contactless card by setting up payment details in an app on the device and touching it on the card reader.

London is the contactless capital of the country accounting for 38% of all transactions according to the payment services company Worldpay. Since it adopted contactless payments alongside the Oyster card across the network in September last year Transport for London has been a key driver in the rapid rise of contactless payment.

There are about 1.2 million contactless transactions on the transport network each weekday according to Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience.

Analysis of contactless usage by the UK Card Association, the trade body for the card payment industry,  in December found that TfL were the source of 11% of all contactless usage in the country. Supermarkets, coffee shops, bars and takeaways are the other big users.

Early reports on Apple Pay indicated that some people were finding it slower to open the gates on the Underground than using a credit/debit card or an Oyster.

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TfL warned customers to make sure that their phone was charged to ensure they would be able to touch out at the end of their journey as Apple Pay will not work if the device is out of power.

Samsung and Google are looking at their own payment methods so paying by phone may soon become commonplace.

From September this year the limit on contactless transactions will increase from £20 to £30, so the relentless rise of cash free lifestyle is likely to grow, with London at the forefront of the change.

See also

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs

Crime down nearly a third in 5 years on buses, Tube and trains

 

Passenger data reveals busiest stations where Tube strike will hit hardest

TubeMillions of Londoners will be struggling to find an alternative route between home and work from tonight as another Tube strike closes the network for more than 24 hours, with no trains running from 6.30pm Wednesday and all of Thursday.

The strike is over payments for drivers to take on night shifts for the introduction of the Night Tube service at weekends from September.

Each day 4 million journeys are made on the Tube. There are 270 stations spread along the 400 kilometres of track. Urbs has been looking at data from Tfl on the use of the stations to see where the biggest impacts will be felt.

In 2014 there were 2.9 billion entries and exits across the Tube network. The busiest station is Oxford Circus with nearly 144,000 people entering the station and 157,000 exiting on the average weekday. Oxford Circus is one of 10 very high use stations that accounted for a quarter of all entries and exits on the network in 2014.

Most of the others are the capital’s main railway stations, with Bank and Canary Wharf serving the financial districts.

Tube busiest weekday

Almost 400 times as many people get on and off at Oxford Circus as at the quietest station on the Tube network, Roding Valley. London’s 3 quietest stations are at the eastern end of the Central Line. 4 others in the top 10 quietest are on the Metropolitan Line.

Tube quietest

A strike on the Tube on a weekday will obviously affect more people than a weekend as the network has 40% more passengers than on a Saturday and twice as many as on a Sunday. But the difference in weekday/weekend passengers is much more pronounced at some stations, showing the workplace focused and leisure focused areas of London.

The stations with the highest proportion of weekday usage are clustered around the city or serving commuters in the east. Some see 90% of their passengers on weekdays. They don’t include any of the main line stations that are among the busiest generally.

Tube weekday ratio

The stations with the highest proportion of weekend use are leisure-focused destinations in central London and all three stations at Heathrow

Tube weekend busy

Source data

See also

25% rise in TfL staff earning more than £100,000

Crime down nearly a third in 5 years on buses, Tube and trains

Crime down nearly a third in 5 years on buses, Tube and trains

© Anizza | Dreamstime.com-2If you have been on a particularly rowdy or perhaps scary night bus journey you may find this hard to believe, but travelling on public transport in London has become much safer in the past 5 years.

Crime across the network, which includes buses, Underground, DLR, Overground and Tramlink, fell by 31% from March 2010 to March 2015. In the year to the end of March 28,154 crimes were recorded by the British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police. The British Transport Police has responsibility for train and tram services, the Met looks after the buses.

Nearly all the offences took place on buses, Underground or DLR. There were 17,000 crimes on buses and arond 10,000 on the Tube and DLR. Figures for Underground and DLR are combined as they are policed by the same unit of the British Transport Police.   Bus crime alone fell by 31% in the period. Offences were down by 34% on the Tube and DLR.

Transport crime

Each day 24 million journeys are made across the London public transport network. The crime rate, as expressed by crimes per million passenger journeys has fallen across all modes of transport. On the buses there are 7.7 crimes per million journeys, on the tube and DLR it is 7.1, but the Overground service has the lowest level at 4.1 crimes per million journeys.

In September the Night Tube service will be introduced providing all night trains each Friday and Saturday night on the Jubilee and Victoria lines, and most of the Piccadilly and Northern lines. With more late night revelers in the transport system it is likely that the crime figures may rise again.

Source data

More crime news

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs

 

25% rise in TfL staff earning more than £100,000

tube speeding pastThe number of staff at TfL paid more than £100,000 has gone up by 25% in the past year. More than 450 people are now earning 6 figures, according to its draft annual report.

This latest rise comes on top of a significant increase in the previous year. That was partly attributed to the massive Crossrail project, but of the 88 people who joined the £100k ranks in 2014/15 only 1 is working for Crossrail.

TfL staff earning over £100,000
2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
TfL 298 326 413
Crossrail project 30 40 41
Total 328 366 454

TfL says that the 413 includes 59 staff who received severance payments of more than £100,000 as part of it “efficiency savings”. There were also 91 staff who clocked up overtime to push their earnings over £100,000. TfL says their overtime was necessary as they are highly specialised engineers and project staff.

According to TfL the payments are a consequence of a massive modernisation programme that is underway to deliver faster and more reliable services. This includes replacing tracks and upgrading stations and signaling.

The boss of TfL, Sir Paul Hendy, saw his basic salary frozen. According to last year’s annual report he earns £331,357. He is eligible for a bonus of up to 50% of salary. This year he has taken £145,000 in bonus, that’s 87% of his entitlement, in line with TfL rate of delivery against its targets.

Source data

See also

Traffic constant, profits up – a congestion charge story

 

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs

buses

London has 19,000 bus stops, 270 Underground stations, 83 Overground stations and 45 DLR stations.  So you’d think that public transport would be pretty convenient for people right across the city. Well, not necessarily.

Urbs has mapped the Transport for London index which measures access to public transport across the city to show the borough variations.  Predictably, those in central London have the easiest access.  The average score on the index for the whole of London is 3.8.  In the City of London it is 7.9 and in Westminster 6.5. But all the outer London boroughs have below average scores with Hillingdon and Havering at the north eastern and western points of the capital with the poorest access.

public transport accessibility map

 

A comparison of the map with data on where new homes are being built in the capital (here on Urbs.London) shows that the boroughs with most housing development and potentially expanding populations, such as Newham and Croydon, have near average scores for access.

The index measures the number, reliability, waiting times and walking distances for public transport in a neighbourhood.  It does not take account of the speed, ease of connections or number of people using a servce.

Next time you are walking to a bus stop in anticipation of a long wait spare a thought for the people in the Kenley neighbourhood of Croydon.  They have the poorest score on the index at just 0.3.

Source data

See also

Traffic constant, profits up – a congestion charge story