TfL gives blunt and accurate response to an angry complaint over Northern line closure

<p>Weekday passenger levels on the Tube are around 60% of those pre-pandemic (Victoria Jones/PA)</p>

Weekday passenger levels on the Tube are around 60% of those pre-pandemic (Victoria Jones/PA)

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God bless the social media managers of company accounts, there to deal with our complaints in a speedy fashion, and provide viral content if a particular customer is pushing things a little too far.

Well, that was the case for the Transport for London (TfL) Twitter account on Friday, after the operator posted information about Northern line closures next year.

The Bank branch of the London Underground line – between Kennington and Moorgate - will be closed between January and May 2022 to connect a new railway tunnel, but not everybody is happy with that news.

Twitter user Ross Paul, who describes himself as a “Coca-Cola addicted, random T-shirt wearing Londoner” responded to TfL’s tweet to ask: “You’ve got to be joking right?”

“I use that all the time to go to London Bridge for hospital appointments. TfL need to sort their s*** out fast! Why wasn’t work done last year when nobody was using the Tube ffs,” he wrote.

TfL’s reply was short and simple.

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“Hi Ross, the work couldn’t be done last year because there was a pandemic,” they responded.

Ah yes, I imagine a massive public health crisis that led to the UK Government ordering the public to stay at home for several periods of 2020 might have thrown a spanner in the works. That’s hardly surprising.

But what’s surprising to many Twitter users is the “snarky” nature of TfL’s reply, which has left people shocked by its tone:

Others, meanwhile, questioned the impact of the pandemic on the works when progress was made on the extension to the Northern line in November and December last year. The development led to the creation of the Battersea Power Station stop, which opened in September:

And it wasn’t just Ross which TfL appeared fed up with, either, as one Twitter user pointed out:

In a statement to indy100, a TfL spokesperson did not address the social media responses, but said the capacity upgrade to Bank station (known as BSCU) and the Northern Line extension (NLE) was safely stopped “at the height of the pandemic” to “ensure the safety of our construction and project teams”. 

“The NLE was able to stay on target because work could begin immediately at the end of this period, while the closures for the BSCU have a significant lead time due to the complex nature of the works,” they said.

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