FOI request detail

Tube cleanliness

Request ID: FOI-0007-1718
Date published: 13 April 2017

You asked

As permitted in the Freedom of Information Act, I request the following information: - How often the hand rails on tube carriages are cleaned/wiped down, broken down by each tube line if possible - How often the hand rails on buses are cleaned/wiped down - How often the hand rails on escalators at tube stations are cleaned/wiped down, broken down by each station if possible If you are able to provide a response, it would also be useful to know these figures for the past five years (if available).

We answered

Our ref: FOI-0007-1718


Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 1 April 2017 asking for information about Tube cleanliness.


Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy. I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.


Tube carriages


The Bakerloo, Central, Waterloo and City, Victoria, Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines undergo the following cleaning regime:


  • Pre-service clean - Nightly sweep and dusting of floors and surfaces, including removal of litter and cleaning of train poles. Seats are brushed and wiped on the sub-surface line section of the network.


  • Mini clean – Implemented on a nightly basis dependent on a train’s arrival into the depot. Inclusive of floor, pole and surface cleaning every two to three days.


  • 21 day clean – This currently works on a 21 day rotation and covers the cleaning of interior train poles, vacuuming of seats and cleaning floors.


The Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines are subject to the following cleaning schedule:


  • Train poles are spot cleaned nightly during the train’s mini clean and are included in the periodic heavy clean carried out with the following frequencies:


23 days - Northern line

22 days - Piccadilly line

17 days - Jubilee line


Tube stations


Under the current cleaning contract the requirement for cleaning escalator handrails is to keep them free from dust and dirt, spillages, graffiti and stickers. The cleaning operatives will view on a daily basis and clean as required. A full machine clean of the escalators (including removal of steps) is carried out twice yearly.




Buses are swept clean at the end of each day or driver’s shift. At the same time the general cleanliness of the bus, including its handrails, is assessed and any concerns are addressed.


Approximately every three months a deep cleanse is carried out, although the exact timescales differ between bus operating companies. Cleanliness assurance is provided by ‘Monitoring through Mystery Shoppers’ (MTS), where random checks are carried out and any issues are taken up with the bus operators.


If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.


If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.


Yours sincerely


Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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