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  1. ITV Report

Population rise to make tube 'inoperable' within 15 years

Crowds inside Seven Sisters Tube station. Photo: Press Association

London's soaring population could make the city underground tube network inoperable within 15 years, a senior tube manager has warned.

In comments to engineering researchers at Imperial College London, reported by The Times (£), Miles Ashley, the Tube's programme director for construction said the growing numbers of people using the tube each year was an "incredibly serious problem". He said overcrowding is threatening to make the system "inoperable" within 15 years.

1.3 billion people used the tube in the past year, he said, compared to 800 million in 2002. Transport for London projections have found that by 2026, 30 stations across London would experience crowding greater than four people per square metre, by 2031, this would rise to 50 of the 62 stations in London. A square foot is the average size of a telephone box - so each passenger would feel as if they were squeezed into a telephone box with three and a half other people.

I don't know whether you have ever stood in a telephone box with 3 and a half or your friends...but ultimately that gives you an illustration of just how crowded parts of the these stations are going to be and the challenge that faces us. It renders it impossible.

– Mike Ashley