Vomit, urine, smashed glass and blood found on thousands of London buses

Buses in London were strewn with anti-social mess including vomit, urine and blood thousands of times last year.

Figures obtained by the Press Association show that Transport for London (TfL) buses were reported as “soiled” a total of 14,632 times in 2018.

TfL classes a bus as having been soiled when passengers have left vomit, urine, blood or smashed glass behind.

October was the worst month for soiling on the bus network (1,351 incidents) closely followed by December (1,349 incidents) and July (1,291 incidents), the month in which England strung together a series of wins in the World Cup knockout stages.

Soiling incidents on London buses
Soiling incidents on London buses

Several bus routes had vehicles soiled on average more than twice per week.

The worst route was the number 25 bus between Ilford in east London and Holborn in the centre of the city.

John Murphy, regional officer of the Unite union, which represents cleaners on London buses, said: “If buses are soiled or fouled then that results in the bus being taken out of service which has the biggest impact on passengers who experience longer journeys and delays.”

Tube trains also had to be delayed by at least two minutes on 801 separate occasions last year while staff cleaned up a “soiled car”.

A cleaner on the District and Central lines, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he and his colleagues face difficult working conditions.

He added: “Sometimes it is very disgusting, especially on weekends and nights.

“From my own experience, once I even found a poo on the train and you have to clean it properly.”

Some passengers “don’t care about the cleaners”, he added.

The Northern line was the worst affected underground route, with 221 of the incidents in 2018 happening on the route which stops at nightlife hotspots including Old Street and Camden Town.

Soiling incidents on Underground lines
Soiling incidents on Underground lines

This was followed by the Jubilee (113), Central (101) and Piccadilly (90) lines.

The lines soiled least frequently were the Waterloo and City (3), Circle and Hammersmith & City (45) and Bakerloo (50).

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, said: “These shocking statistics show just what a dirty and disgusting job our cleaner members have to do mopping up the mess left behind by drunks on the London Underground.

“There is no question that the introduction of the night Tube has seen an increase in this sort of behaviour which has appalling consequences for staff and passengers alike.”

Cleaners on the London Underground are a “hidden army” with “mops and buckets cleaning up the filth and mess to keep London moving”, he added.

A spokeswoman for TfL said: “We aim to deal with any incidents of this nature on our network as soon as possible once they are reported, with specialist staff available to undertake cleaning as required.

“We ask all customers to consider their fellow passengers and to help us to keep the network running safely and smoothly.”