Metropolitan Line Complaint: Autumn 2018

You know how you can tell it is autumn? When the Metropolitan line starts going into regular meltdown, and what an autumnal week it has been.

I suspect that this is going to be a bit of a long rant, so lets start on a positive note, or what should be a positive note – donuts.

On Saturday 8th September, I had quite a hangover, but had to head into central London to pick up a suit. During my short spell on Oxford Street, a bird poo’d on me for the first time in my life, I found out the world was going to end and then my suit wasn’t ready after all.

So I got the tube home, and decided to pop out at Baker Street station to buy a Krispy Kreme donut. Strawberries and cream. My favourite. Do you have a favourite?

However I have noticed that I have been charged for two journeys, one to buy the donut, and one to take the donut home. Am I not allowed to do this? I am sure that I’ve done this many times in the past without being charged…maybe I need to go through my statement in full…though I’m not sure I can be bothered.

This donut cost me £4.30 in the end, including the extra £2.40 journey. Which is too much to pay for the donut, even if the world is going to end. Not sure there is an Overpriced Donut Experience refund option I can select.

I guess we should now get onto the Metropolitan line’s performance. I accept events happen – we all know that your signalling equipment is ancient and finding spare parts for something made in the 1880’s (ish) isn’t easy. You really should spend some more time explaining to frustrated customers that you are actually in the process of replacing the signals (albeit over a long period of time, but hey).

I don’t know what has annoyed me more this week. Tuesday was pretty frustrating – missed a tube at Harrow by 10 seconds and then had to wait 10 minutes for the next fast one to Aldgate, when they should be every 4 minutes (roughly). Which of course was overcrowded and slow when it finally arrived.

Part 1 of 2…sorry

…Part 2 of probably 2.

What bothers me more, is that even though events happen, your disaster recovery plan seems absolutely shambolic. I managed to avoid the worst of the catastrophes this week – but I read on Twitter various accounts of a complete lack of information for passengers, people being stuck outside stations for 30+ minutes, line controllers not being available, no staff to run trains, etc.

You have lots of practice to deal with this. I cannot remember which evening it was, but there was a signal failure at Farringdon, I was delayed but not by too much. Yet 2 hours after it was resolved, the delays were far, far worse. Again last night – it seemed that the disaster just got worse.

You owe it to your customers to explain your disaster recovery process and what you are doing to improve it. I’m sure I’ll get a bland response, and maybe if I’m lucky a £2.40 refund for my overpriced donut journey, but I what I really really want is a full written explanation of what you are doing to improve disaster recovery (pretty sure the Spice Girls sung about that). I don’t care about an apology – we all get things wrong, thing happen – but you seriously need to improve this.

Please sort it out.

Kind regards

ps Some of your drivers and staff are bang on the money – some great people work for TFL and do make us smile.

Oh and your website is getting much slower.


Dear Mr Winfield

Thank you for your feedback forms of 22 September 2018 about the Metropolitan line and Krispy Kreme donuts.

I’m sorry for the issues you’ve been experiencing with our Metropolitan line service and I understand the signal failures have been far too frequent.

With regards to your charging issue at Baker Street, we will always charge a new fare if you exit station premises and have not reached the daily cap for the zones you’re travelling in. At ‘out of station interchange’ stations such as Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush, we allow 20 minutes to touch in at the station before you will be charged again. This may explain why you have been charged differently on previous donut excursions.

When signal failures and other issues occur on the line, our Emergency Response Unit will immediately attend the affected area. The Response Unit will then need to locate the exact point of failure, establish what has caused the failure and implement the quickest possible fix. This is why delays can sometimes last for several hours at a time. In terms of a lack of communication about these issues, we expect our Service Controllers to communicate as much information as possible to station staff, who will then relay this information to you. If you could let me know of any specific dates and times where you feel the communication has been below par, I will pass this over to Service Control.

If you wanted to obtain a full and detailed account of our response procedure to these events, it may be best to make a Freedom of Information request. I can assure you that every signal failure and our response is analysed the day after the event by those in charge of operations and any possible improvements before the implementation of our 4 Lines Modernisation project (which will significantly reduce these issues) will be made.

Thanks again for contacting us. If there is anything else we can help you with, please reply to this email. Alternatively, you can call us on 0343 222 1234 and we’ll be happy to help you.

Kind regards

Customer Service Adviser
Transport for London Customer Services


So, no refund and the Metropolitan line has got far, far worse this autumn, thanks to the 4 Lines Modernisation project.

More complaints on this topic to come soon. I’m sure you cannot wait.

Oh and the world never ended. Dumb sign.

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