More than 200 UV light sanitising devices have been installed on the tube network, as part of TfL's efforts to keep London's transport as clean as possible while tackling coronavirus.
The devices are being installed on 100 escalators — about a quarter of all escalators on the tube network — in the coming weeks. They're already in action at King's Cross St Pancras, and will soon be at some of the busiest stations, including Bond Street, Charing Cross, London Bridge, and Victoria.
The UV devices are an addition to TfL's existing anti-viral cleaning regime, which includes using hospital-grade cleaning products, and the installation of more than 1,000 hand sanitiser points. The UV devices work by using the motion of the escalator to power a UV bulb, which breaks down contamination and continuously sanitises the surface.
Covid-19 is still too new to have undergone clinical trials involving UV light. However, previous strains of coronavirus have been deactivated in this way. TfL carried out its own six-week trial on escalators at Heathrow T123 station, and found that sanitisation levels on handrails improved by at least 50%.
Esther Sharples, Director of Asset Operations at London Underground, said:
After a successful trial, we are now installing UV light devices to continuously clean more than 100 escalators on the Tube network. Customer injuries on escalators account for around half of all injuries on the Tube network and, during the pandemic, we have found that some customers are avoiding holding the handrails. We hope that the installation of these new devices, along with the provision of Dettol hand sanitiser across the network, will rebuild customer confidence.