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The Tube could be “inoperable” within 15 years due to overcrowding

We ran a story in November about the increasing sense of danger felt as we used the London Underground, due to the overcrowding frequently witnessed on the service - and 70 per cent of you agreed that you felt scared using the service.

Now, it seems that even the people who run the Underground are admitting that there is a serious problem building, with a Tube executive warning that major parts of the service will be "inoperable" within 15 years due to the increasing population.

Transport for London estimates that the network will handle 1.3bn passengers this year, with the figure expected to reach 1.7bn by 2016 as London's population grows from its current 8.8m to 10.2m in 2030.

According to the Sunday Times, London Underground's programme director for construction Miles Ashley told an audience of engineering researchers at Imperial College London, "I don’t know whether you have ever stood in a telephone box with 3½ of your friends... but ultimately that gives you an illustration of just how crowded parts of these stations are going to be and the challenge that faces us. It renders it inoperable.”

He said that drivers will not be able to stop at some of the most overcrowded stations on the network, saying "Sometimes it is more important to get people out," Mr Ashley said. "If you can’t get people off the platform for the next train to arrive, then you have to run to non-stopping... The ability to empty... platforms is fundamental.”

While Crossrail is due to increase capacity by 10 per cent upon its 2018 opening, Mr Ashley said that this would simply be overtaken by the number of passengers by 2026 - and that's without adding in new passengers who will commute in to the centre of London from further away than ever before.

Union bosses described the predictions as "truly terrifying", while a spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the Sunday Times: "We need to encourage people to use other forms of public transport and that is why Sadiq will invest in making it safer and easier to walk or cycle.”

[via Evening Standard]