Frustrated commuters furious after £1.6million escalator breakdown at Highbury and Islington

Highbury and Islington's escalators have caused fury amongst commuters

Highbury and Islington's escalators have caused fury amongst commuters - Credit: Archant

Frustrated commuters were left furious after an escalator at a Tube station broke down three times in three months following a £1.6million refurbishment.

More than 52,000 people use Highbury and Islington underground station every day and Transport for London (TfL) spent £1,613,927 on the two 45-year-old escalators before what it describes as “the major components enter the failure mode in their lifecycle leading to unplanned closures with detrimental effect on customers”.


A Freedom of Information (FOI) request seen by the Gazette shows that since work on one of the escalators finished in July, technical faults have left travellers with no option but to use the stairs three times, which TfL acknowledges “can take up to 10 minutes at peak times”.

Naz Butt, 51, a mental health volunteer from Highbury New Park, said: “It’s chaos because it causes a lot of disruption.

“If you’re physically fit it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re disabled or have kids with you, then it’s a problem.

“I had to get a bus right the way across London when they broke because I have a friend who is scared of escalators, and when they broke she couldn’t face the squash on the stairs.”

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Josh Zola, 32, a business analyst from Manor House, said: “It’s surprising they can’t get it right for £1.6m.

“It’s a lot of money to just be spent on escalators.

“It’s a hazard when the escalators aren’t working and everyone is going up and down the one flight of stairs.”

Renes Troost, 45, from Wood Green, added: “It’s shocking that they can spend that much on escalators.

“The money could be better spent on wages and pensions for TfL workers.”

A spokesman for TfL said: “The escalators were due for an upgrade.

“We plan these as part of a 10-year look-ahead programme, based on the lifecycle of each escalator.”


He added: “Replacing the fixed stairway with an escalator is not currently an option, since an additional escalator would exacerbate passenger congestion in the platform, and lower passageway areas.

“This could only be considered as part of a major station upgrade project which will not be considered feasible in the foreseeable future.”