Fears of catching Covid from handrails 'spark rise in escalator falls'

Fears of catching Covid from handrails spark rise in escalator falls at Tube stations, TfL boss says

  • Belief that handrails aren’t clean is one of biggest risks for Tube network, said TfL
  • Return of drunken revellers also contributed to rise, added managing director
  • He told panel there were spikes on Thursday and Friday evenings and weekends 
  • Twelve serious injuries were reported in Tube in April, May and June this year

The number of falls down London Underground escalators has soared as passengers avoid touching handrails for fear of catching coronavirus.

A belief that handrails are not clean is one of the two biggest risks facing the Tube network, Transport for London said yesterday.

The return of drunken revellers also contributed to the rise, managing director Andy Lord said.

A belief that handrails are not clean is one of the two biggest risks facing the Tube network, Transport for London said yesterday. Pictured: a passenger wearing a face mask on a escalator at Tottenham Court Road tube station in London last year

He told a TfL panel on safety there were spikes on Thursday and Friday evenings and at weekends. 

He added: ‘The two biggest risks we have are falls on escalators caused by people who don’t hold the handrail. 

‘There is an issue with the perception that the handrail is not clean because of the pandemic. 

‘The other bigger issue is actually intoxication.’

Managing director Andy Lord said TFL is spending a ‘huge amount’ of money cleaning handrails and installing UV cleaners at stations (file photo)

Twelve serious injuries were reported in the Tube in April, May and June, more than any other quarter in the past two years.

Imperial College London research last month found no traces of the virus at four major railway stations and intercity train services.

Mr Lord added that TFL is spending a ‘huge amount’ of money cleaning handrails and installing UV cleaners at stations. 

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