FOI request detail

DLR lifts out of service

Request ID: FOI-2484-2223
Date published: 23 January 2023

You asked

F/O from 2071-2223 Dear FOI, Many thanks for your email. Perhaps it would be possible to narrow the scope of my request so that we have a starting point for working out the chance of turning up at a station and the lift not working. Please could I request the following information in relation to just DLR stations (since they are all step free). For what proportion of operating hours, were lifts out of service for the year 2022? If this request takes me over the cost limit, please may you let me know for the eight busiest DLR stations. Or if it is easier to collate the information by a different period (say the financial year 2021/22) please let me know.

We answered

TfL Ref: 2484-2223

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 4 January 2023 asking for information about our DLR lifts.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.  I can confirm that we hold some of the information you require. You asked: Please could I request the following information in relation to just DLR stations (since they are all step free). For what proportion of operating hours, were lifts out of service for the year 2022?

Like all of our assets, such as trains and track, we have a continual programme of maintenance and renewal for our lifts and escalators to ensure they are reliable and safe to use for our customers. Our lifts undergo some daily checks as well as receiving a routine planned maintenance check every two weeks, a full MOT every six months and a partial refurbishment every five years. Lifts tend to be fully replaced every 10 to 20 years, depending on the type of machine, usage and exposure to the elements. Due to the nature of the work, replacement and refurbishment can take a number of months to complete.
Escalator and lift replacement and refurbishment works can be lengthy processes due to the size, complexity and confined nature of the task. We continue to look for ways to reduce the amount of disruption on our customers while we undertake these interventions. For example, we will sometimes replace more than one lift at a time to reduce the overall time they are unavailable. We also continue to invest in vital improvements to the transport network including making more stations fully accessible across London.
When a lift is out of service staff will take some or all the following actions as appropriate:
  • Staff notify the London Underground Control Centre (LUCC) or the Network Management Control Centre (NMCC) as applicable – they aim to publish the information on the TfL website within five minutes of being notified
  • Display a poster explaining that the lift is out of service
  • Tell stations either side
  • Display the information on the train operators boards
  • Make announcements on trains regarding step free access and alternative arrangements (DLR)
  • Use general information boards to tell customers of the out of service lift as they might choose to use alternative routes
  • Advertise upcoming availability for planned works.
We always try to reinstate the lift / escalator as soon as safely possible.

We do not hold the exact information that you are asking for as we have no business need to calculate the proportion or percentage of operating hours that lifts at our DLR stations are out of service for; however we can provide the dates and locations of every out of service lift over the last 12 months on the DLR - please see the attached document which contains this information.  The document also includes duration data for each outage; the amount of time (in hours, days and weeks) that passed before each lift was fixed and running again can be derived from this data as can the number of operating hours that each lift was out of service for. Please note that there could be alternative London Underground Ltd and Elizabeth line assets at some stations which are served by the DLR which could potentially be used instead where a DLR asset is out of operation.

In terms of our operating hours, the “duration” field is based on assets being required to be in standard service for the hours as below:

For these calculations, we use standard availability hours, based on lifts being required from half an hour before our base timetable hours until half an hour after the end of our base timetable hours, as follows:

  • Mondays to Fridays    05:00 to 01:00
  • Saturdays                    05:00 to 01:00
  • Sundays                      06:30 to 24:00

Special operating hours apply every year on:
  • 24th December            earlier finish, lift availability required until 23:00
  • 25th December            DLR closed
  • 26th December            later start, lift availability required from 08:00
  • 31st December            no closedown at end of traffic (continuous service to 1st January)
  • 1st January                  start of service is continuous from 31st December

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

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely

Sara Thomas
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London


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