Dear Transport for London,

Strikes resulted in disruptions to services on London Underground on four recent dates; September 6th, October 3rd, November 2nd, and November 28th 2010.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please could you advise me for each date separately; how many stations were closed (either for part or the whole of the strike day)? And how many stations were left unstaffed but open, (either for part or the whole of the strike day)?

Please name and list the affected stations per Line sequentially (i.e. as a train would pass through from one end to the other) for each date.

Thank you in advance for your time and attention.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Hood.

LU CSC FOI, Transport for London

Thanks for taking the time to contact the London Underground Customer Service Centre, requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act. I’m writing to let you know that we’ve received your enquiry.

We will deal with your request as soon as possible and in any case provide you with a response within 20 working days. However, if we are unable to answer your comments within this time, we will keep you updated about the progress of your case until you receive a full response.

In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your request, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0845 3309880. We’re open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.

Kind Regards

LU Customer Services

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LU CSC FOI, Transport for London

Thank you for your email received by London Underground. You asked for strike data for 2010.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and I can confirm that we des hold the information you require.

I have obtained the information requested but there is a substantial amount of data for this period and it is too large to send via email. Please can you provide a postal address and I will arrange for this to be sent to you. I appreciate that you may not wish to send your address via "what do they know.com" so you can email me directly via [email address]

Alternatively please let me know if you would like to collect the data from our offices or an LU station.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly, in the meantime if you would like to discuss your request please contact me on 0845 3309880.

Yours sincerely

Shirley Xavier
Knowledge Manager
LU Customer Services

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Dear Shirley Xavier

Thank you for the reply, I’m very pleased you have been able to collate the data, how big is the file?

I ask because, if possible, I really would prefer to receive your reply via email and, as indicated in my original request, that email should be to the request address. Are you aware of the following upload facility?

(http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/upload/req...)

However, if it is still not possible for TfL to comply with my expression of preference under S11(1) of the FOI Act, would you please provide the data via electronic format, such as CD or DVD?

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood.

Dear LU CSC FOI,

Only Dec 16th ’10 I made this FOI request to you and your response took over 20 work days to receive. After I received it, I then wrote to you again on 25th Jan ’11 with what I believed to be a reasonable request, namely; to have your answer supplied in digital format (either by email or on CD/DVD) as per my original expression of preference.

I am also aware that TfL has invested heavily in new technology and is committed to being environmentally responsible (with the Mayor of London having set pioneering targets to reduce TfL’s CO2 emissions), therefore, in line with your CO2 reduction targets, I would have thought you would welcome the opportunity to email digital data as opposed to the more wasteful production of paper documents and the greater environmentally damaging effects that postal deliveries inevitably cause.

However, my last request was over 2 weeks ago and it is disappointing to note that you have still not responded either by answering or even just acknowledging my request. Therefore, I would be grateful if you would take the time now to supply the information you say you already have on hand.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Hood.

Xavier Shirley,

Dear Mr Hood

Thank you for your email yesterday.

On receipt of your email dated 25 January, I approached the area within LU that holds this data and asked them to confirm whether they can provide the data in an electronic form for you. They have sent me a spreadsheet that I can send you electronically, however I have an outstanding query on the data provided.

I want to ensure the data we issue to you is accurate and I am sorry that this has caused a further delay in issuing a final response. I am working with the appropriate area of London Underground to get this to you as quickly as possible.

In the mean time please call me on 0845 3309880, should you wish to discuss your request.

Yours sincerely

Shirley Xavier
Knowledge Manager

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Dear Transport for London,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Transport for London's handling of my FOI request 'London Underground Recent Strike Date Data'.

TfL are in breach of the Freedom of Information Act by failing to provide me with the information I have requested promptly, which has by far exceeded the 20 working day maximum period permitted. When I originally asked my question on 16th December 2010 I had no idea TfL would procrastinate over answering and I’m at a loss to understand why.

However, my priority in requesting this internal review is to prompt the rapid release of the information I have sought, therefore, I am concerned that further delays might occur as a result of this review process, which is something I hope can be avoided.

From the correspondence I have so far received, I am aware that for some time TfL already have had to hand the information I have been seeking, and also that it is available in the digital format I requested, therefore, I would be grateful if TfL would provide a valid reason for the lengthy delay in releasing this information.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood.

LU CSC FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Hood

Further to my dated 10 February, I wanted to provide you an update on your request. I am sorry for the delay in issuing a final response to you.

I am still liaising with the department that holds the data requested. I want to ensure that any data that we issue to is accurate and I am sorry this has caused a further delay in issuing a final response to you.

Please be assured I am working to get a final response to you as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please contact me on 0845 3309880 if you would like to discuss your request.

Kind Regards

Shirley Xavier
Knowledge Manager

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Dear Shirley Xavier,

You will by now be aware that I have requested an Internal Review into the way TfL has, and continues to conduct itself in this matter, which I presume is the reason you have responded to me today.

I find it extraordinary that the accurate data you had ready and were quite willing to post to me in January, suddenly became of questionable accuracy simply because I reminded you I desired it in digital format. It leads me to wonder; was its accuracy really of acceptable quality when you said it was ready to post on 18th January 2011?

I had not realised that asking the simple question I did could seem to cause such a problem for TfL as that was not my intention, therefore, please accept my apologies if that is the case.

However, the point remains you are well in excess of your 20 working day deadline, indeed, you have even exceeded the extended 40 working day deadline and you still appear no closer to providing the information.

Therefore, with all due respect, if the information is not forthcoming you will leave me no further option than to escalate the matter with the ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood.

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

01 March 2011

Our ref: IRV-117-1011

Dear Mr Hood

Thank you for your email requesting an internal review of TfL's handling of your Freedom of Information request.

A review will be conducted in accordance with the attached procedure and a response will be provided to you as soon as possible and in any event by 28 March 2011.

Please contact me if you have any queries.

Kind regards

Matthew Towey | Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | Corporate Governance | Transport for London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 3063/ auto 63063

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FOI, Transport for London

15 March 2011

Our ref: IRV-117-1011

Dear Mr Hood

The internal review of your Freedom of Information request has been completed.

As part of the review process LU Customer Services (LU CS) was asked to explain why a response was not sent to you within 20 working days. LU CS has explained that the data you requested proved difficult to source and it was found that limited data was held for the first of the strikes days, and the data for the remaining days was held in multiple files. This, with the additional impact of the Xmas and New Year break, meant that LU CS did not receive the data until mid-January.

When the data was due to be provided to LU CS, Shirley Xavier wrote to you to on 18 January 2011 to discuss how best to send the data to you. However, on receipt of the data it was identified that it was not correct and LU CS had to ask for it to be resubmitted. Shirley Xavier wrote to you to this effect on 10 February. LU CS has acknowledged that they should have written a holding response earlier, as soon as the data error was spotted, but they were hopeful of a quick correction.

Corrected data was provided to LU CS on 24 February addressing the first part of your question but the second part regarding unstaffed stations was not provided and upon querying this omission it became clear that providing this data would be likely to exceed the FOI cost limit of £450. We are currently estimating how long it would take to provide the information for the second part so that a decision can be made as whether to apply the cost limit under section 12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act.

In conclusion, the review found that in failing to respond to your request within 20 working days, TfL contravened the requirements of section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act. On behalf of TfL please accept my apologies for the way in which your request has been handled. We are working on sending the response as soon as possible.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this internal review, you can refer the matter to the independent authority responsible for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act at the following address.

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

A complaint form is available on the ICO’s website (www.ico.gov.uk).

Yours sincerely

Matthew Towey | Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | Corporate Governance | Transport for London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 3063/ auto 63063

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Dear Mr Towey

Thank you for the prompt response to my request for an Internal Review, and also the explanation you provided.

In this particular regard, I find it surprising, even alarming, that LU CS discovered that the data I requested "was difficult to source". My questions were not obscure but simple and safety related. As a matter of principle, or even regulation, I would have thought there would have been a permanent and ongoing audit that would have meant, for health and safety reasons, this data would be constantly and readily available.

For instance, in the Fennel report, Chapter 20, Recommendation 79, which London Underground accepted as being "most important", it states that the authority shall; "…establish a system whereby the safety of operation of London Underground can be the subject of audit…" Therefore, does this safety audit not also include the recording of adequate staff numbers? and at adequate numbers of stations? Even if not done at all times, then surely it is at times of high staff unavailability. Chapter 13: The Management of Safety, and Chapter 14: The Auditing of Safety, also refer.

Therefore, whilst I accept compiling 'hard to find' data will inevitably be more time consuming than data which is 'at the fingertips', TfL should have already had this data to hand; making the only real barrier being one of compiling it into the format I requested.

Consequently, if TfL failed to keep the records it should have, I hope any extra time taken to acquire this information now because of those failings, will not be taken into account when calculating the overall FOI cost of answering my questions.

I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you again for your attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood.

LU CSC FOI, Transport for London

2 Attachments

21 March 2011

Dear Mr Hood

Thank you for your email dated 16 December received on the same day. You have asked for information about the strikes last year on the Underground network.

During the strike action last year, we were committed to keeping services running where possible.

I can confirm that during the September strike more than a third of services operated. We continued to plan for the further strikes that were announced whilst continuing mediation with the unions involved. During the October strike most stations in central London remained open. All key transport hubs operated including Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Victoria, Euston, Stratford, Waterloo, Holborn, Heathrow, Kings Cross, Finsbury Park, Paddington, Earl's Court and Whitechapel. Trains ran on ten of the eleven lines, and 40 per cent of services operated. Further planning for the November strikes meant that three quarters of stations were open at key parts of the day. Up to 40 per cent of trains ran during evening peak and Oyster data showed that the Tube carried half the usual number of passengers. I can also confirm that services ran on ten of the eleven lines.

You asked how many stations were closed and how many stations were left unstaffed on the days the Underground was impacted by the strike action. Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and I can confirm that we do hold the information you require.

Please find attached a document which indicates which stations were closed for either part or the whole day for each strike day.

Unfortunately, to provide the exact details of times stations were closed and details of stations that remained open but unstaffed would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ of £450 set by the Freedom of Information (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a request if the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25 per hour for every hour spent on the activities described.

The information requested is not held centrally and is only contained in the manual weekly reports. In order to provide these details, we would need to check the individual station records for the days that your request covers. This would require as to retrieve the records for each station and extract the details of when the station was closed or unstaffed due to the strike action.

I am sorry for the length of time it has taken to conclude your request. We have been looking to see if the additional information requested could be obtained through reporting or whether manual records could be provided to you. I appreciate that this is not the response you hoped for, if I can help with any alternative data please contact me on 0845 3309880.

If you are not satisfied with this response, please read the attached help-sheet entitled ‘Your Right to Appeal’

Yours sincerely

Shirley Xavier
Knowledge Manager

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FOI, Transport for London

31 March 2011

Our ref: IRV-117-1011

Dear Mr Hood

Thank you for your email in which you raised a number of queries in relation to the information held by LU.

I note that since informing you of the outcome of the review LU has issued a response to your request which provided much of the information requested and explained why it was not possible to provide some of the data requested. If there are any outstanding issues please let me know.

Yours sincerely

Matthew Towey | Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | Corporate Governance | Transport for London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 3063/ auto 63063

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Dear Mr Towey,

Thank you for getting back to me, but I’m afraid you’re quite wrong when you state: “LU… provided much of the information requested and explained why it was not possible to provide some of the data requested”; TfL’s answer was the opposite way around; MOST of the information was NOT provided whilst only SOME of it was.

In Shirley Xavier’s reply of 21st March ’11, her third paragraph carried the lion’s share of TfL’s response and although it provided a lot of detail NONE of it concerned any of my FOI requests!

I asked nothing about “key transport hubs”, “train services”, “interventions with unions”, “Lines operating”, “Oyster data”, “percentage of trains running” or indeed any of those 13 stations listed etc. None of which helped in any way to provide a better understanding for my specific FOI requests. Instead, it seems a great deal of effort, and I presume time, had been spent by TfL to provide irrelevant data whilst my FOI requests were effectively sidelined.

In other words, what I received was a PR exercise by TfL to tell me how good a job London Underground are doing but I don’t need any of that, I already believe the Tube provides an excellent service so what I had been expecting were reasonable responses to reasonable requests completed in a reasonable timeframe and in this regard TfL failed abysmally. Consequently, I feel TfL’s response has been rather disingenuous.

For instance, TfL and its predecessor, since the Fennel Report published in 1988 have invested heavily in new technology and monitoring and reporting systems to ensure the safe transportation of people throughout London; at a conservative estimate probably hundreds of millions, but more likely, billions of pounds.

Above ground, as many know to their chagrin, TfL scrutinises traffic and routinely fines motorists for claimed safety related traffic contraventions; entering bus lanes, stopping on red routes, failing to pay for driving in the CC zone, contravening the LEZ and so on and so forth. Apart from regulation, this is in large part justified in the name of safety.

Below ground, TfL’s monitoring seems even more vigorous and, as is routinely reported in the news, TfL is able to state numerous data such as; how many customers make Tube journeys per annum or indeed on any given date, what proportion of those customers use Oyster cards versus paper tickets, even the frequency of tickets purchased from each Ticket Office and so on.

Therefore, with such a huge abundance of data effortlessly available, it beggars belief that TfL claims to have no effective systems in place as an easy way of monitoring its own in safety-related activities! For example, knowing which Tube stations were open or closed or part thereof, on any given date.

Even more incredulous than this is TfL’s claim that it also has no system in place to provide an easy way of knowing if any of the stations it operates, and which are open to the public, actually have any staff on them. That claim doesn’t carry weight; how can TfL not know if staff were or were not on duty on any particular station on any particular date when at the same time it can state precisely how many customers used that self same station on that self same day?

What does this say about TfL’s priorities or own attitude to safety? And what does it say about TfL’s pledge on its own website dated 16th July 2010,; “LU will always have staff present at every station to help customers” http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/ne... TfL has confirmed above that it does not audit station staffing levels (including staff presence), therefore, it has no way to monitor and confirm if its statement is true!

Or to put things in a different perspective; I can’t imagine a single other large or small organisation who would operate their business on the same basis, can you?

Imagine contacting Tesco HQ and asking if their local branch was open last Thursday, presumably they would answer; “yes”. So, you follow it up by asking if the store was staffed. How do you suppose they might reply? If they said; “well, we don’t actually know, but worse than that it would be pretty difficult to find out too”, what opinion would you now form concerning their management? In all probability, it might be something similar to the disbelief I have about TfL’s identical response to me. But unlike the Underground, Tesco would not classify as a safety critical environment, so they would have less reason to know.

In Shirley Xavier’s 4th paragraph she confirms TfL has the information I requested, but in her 6th paragraph she explains why it will not be possible to provide most of it. Meanwhile her 5th paragraph refers to an attached document which purportedly answers the remaining part of my FOI request, but what has been provided has also ignored the format I specified.

As a result, instead of “sequentially per Line” (which would have made reference easier) and to which I provided the clarification in my original request; “as a train would pass through from one end of the Line to the other”, TfL skipped the Lines altogether and lumped all stations into single alphabetical lists without any reference to which stations appear in what order or on what Line. Confusingly, she then provided data for 50% more dates than I specified and this was immediately prior to her then explaining there was insufficient time to supply the data which I did ask for because time constraints would not allow!

In the 8th paragraph she present’s TfL’s case that the only way to obtain the data I requested would be to consult “individual station records” thus implying that 260 stations (the number obtained from TfL’s website) may need to be contacted, which would be a dizzying amount of phone calls to make. However, does each Line not have its own administrative Head Office where all relevant data is collated? Surely, therefore, instead of making 260 phone calls, perhaps less than a dozen would be required. However, as I’ve already expounded on my surprise at TfL’s lack of monitoring of station staffing I won’t revisit that again here.

Nonetheless, a further question does come to mind concerning TfL’s response, as Shirley Xavier clearly states; TfL does not centrally audit staffing levels on stations open to the public, at least not on the grounds of safety, are there any grounds for which those staff levels/presence would be audited?

In summation, I hope you can appreciate how evasive I consider TfL’s reply to be; the initial response was to prevaricate unduly, but ultimately TfL found ways to avoid answering the main part of my questions whilst fudging the only answer it did give. I don’t believe it’s healthy for any publicly funded body to display that kind of attitude.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood.

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Hood

Thank you for your email.

In our response to your request we provided an excel spreadsheet with six tabs showing the stations that were closed for all or part of the following dates

6 September 2010
03 October 2010
02 November 2010
03 November 2010
28 November 2010
29 November 2010

The answered the first part of your request in full albeit it was not presented in the way you requested. The remaining information concerning how many stations were left unstaffed but open was not provided and we explained why it was not possible to provide it in response to your request.

In your email of 05 April you have outlined your concerns at TfL's failure to provide information in response to the second part of your request and you have asked an additional question regarding auditing staff levels. I have forwarded your email to LU who will provide a response.

I should also remind you of your right to complain to the Information Commissioner's Office (www.ico.gov.uk)

Yours sincerely

Matthew Towey | Information Governance Adviser
Information Access & Compliance Team | Corporate Governance | Transport for London
5th Floor, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL
T: 020 7126 3063/ auto 63063

TfL has recently adopted an ‘information security classification scheme’ to help protect its information assets. If you work for TfL or one of its subsidiaries and want to find out how this affects you, see the new Quick Guide or visit Source for more information.

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LU CSC FOI, Transport for London

19 April 2011

Dear Mr Hood

Thank you for your mail of 5 April. I’m sorry that you found our previous response evasive. We certainly do not mean to be so.

I firstly wish to reassure you that stations and station groups do have the means to report on station staffing levels and access information concerning when stations are opened but unstaffed. Staffing levels are, therefore, effectively managed at station and station group levels. We had thought we could access the data you required through one central report but this proved not to be the case. In fact there is little operational need to do so, and the requirement to provide data for all stations for a range of dates is therefore onerous. Under the terms of the Freedom of Information act it would exceed the cost limits to comply with this request in terms of gathering the data requested from each of the groups and stations for each of the days. If you would like to narrow the scope of the request we can reconsider the request.

I also appreciate the data wasn’t provided in the required format, sequentially by line. We do not hold data in this format as we have no need to generate it this way, as all stations are organised at station group level and not line level.

We recognise that our customers value the presence of our staff and the reduction in the opening hours at ticket offices will allow us to deploy staff in a way that improves their visibility overall. We are committed to ensuring there will always be staff available to provide assistance – more often now on platforms and gate lines, instead of behind a glass window at the ticket office.

It is a requirement of LU’s Health, Safety & Environmental Management System (HSEMS) – established as a direct result of the Fennell Report – that Directors and Senior Managers develop a programme of tours and visits covering all work locations for which they are responsible. This is in addition to other established systems and processes under HSEMS such as Planned General Inspections, HSE audits, systems checks, monitoring, site visits etc either by local management and/or dedicated Safety Quality Environment Advisers and Auditors etc. We are confident that these established processes further ensure our ability to monitor the safety of the Underground network.

Once again I’m sorry that you were not fully satisfied with our original response and hope I have been able to provide the further clarification you required.

Yours sincerely

Shirley Xavier
Knowledge Manager

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Dear Shirley Xavier,

Thank you for your response, it is reassuring. I note your comments and also those of Matthew Towey dated 11th April 2011.

In response to these I contacted the Information Commissioner’s Office and they advised me there is scale of charges applicable if an FOI request exceeds the £450 threshold, therefore, would you kindly calculate and tell me how much extra it would cost for you to furnish me the information I am seeking.

Many thanks for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Hood.

Dear Transport for London,

It’s been over a fortnight since I asked how much extra it would cost to provide the answers I sought; are you able to provide that calculation yet?

Yours faithfully,

Neil Hood

LU CSC FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

16 May 2011

Dear Mr Hood

Thank you for your email. I apologise for the delay in the response.

It may help if I explain that section 12 of the FOIA provides an exemption from a public authority’s obligation to comply with a request for information where the cost of compliance is estimated to exceed the appropriate limit. The appropriate limit is the key concept concerning fees.

The Fees Regulations state that this cost limit is £600 for central government, legislative bodies and the armed forces and £450 for all other public authorities. Where the estimated costs exceed the appropriate limit, as is the case in relation to your request, the authority is not obliged to communicate the information to the applicant.

There is provision in the FOIA and the Fees Regulations for an authority to communicate the information and charge a fee where the appropriate limit is exceeded but I must stress that there is no obligation to do so and in this case TfL will not be charging a fee and will not therefore be providing the information to you.

For your information where a public authority wishes to charge a fee the maximum fee that can be charged in such circumstances is described in the Fees Regulations, and is the sum of:

• the costs which a public authority may take into account in calculating that the appropriate limit was exceeded; • the communication costs; and • staff time, at £25 per hour per person, spent on the activities included under communication costs.

TfL's estimate of how long it would take (and consequently how much it would cost) to retrieve the information you requested is attached. If you disagree with this estimate you can complain to the ICO.

I hope this information is of assistance.

Yours sincerely

Shirley Xavier
Knowledge Manager

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