London’s buses, tube trains and taxis were recently examined by an assembly of researchers for their hygiene and sanitation with tens of samples testing hand rails, seats, doors and walls. What they discovered? 121 various sort of microbes and bacteria were found, with the Underground being their “preferred” mean of transportation.

There is also a winner, the Victoria line being the worst performing with 22 different bacteria species. The research disclosed that next in line are the Piccadilly line and the spiralling Circle line in the underground service, both a general habitat for 20 bacteria. The Metropolitan, Bakerloo and Hammersmith and City being the least dirty if it’s acceptable to share your place with Staphylococcus Aureus, E.coli or Klebsiella Pneumoniae among others.

london tube bacteria

The research conducted by Staveley Head exposed that the Tube was home to nine bacteria that are most fatal and cause superfluous reactions to humans, being drug-resistant bacteria, as declared by the World Health Organization.

In contrast to the Tube, London’s buses are somehow a better alternative for travelling around, with only 37 types of bacteria found which is less than half of the 95 found on the Tube.

It’s well-known last year the Klebsiella Pneumoniae superbug took the life of a women, aged 70, in the US. After the examination of the bug, it was divulged that it was resistant to all 26 antibiotics available in the US. And here it is, Klebsiella Pneumoniae was found on a Victoria line train and inside a private hire taxi in London.

“Klebsiella Pneumoniae could be the most destructive superbug for it’s a drug resistant, highly tainted bacteria” said the study leader, Dr. Matewele (London Metropolitan University). He also mentioned that weak people and patients are most vulnerable against this bacteria, as it may not affect the healthy people to a much proportion. People with weak immune system or sick can suffer various infections like diarrhoea, septicaemia, meningitis, urinary tract infections or pneumonia and only a strong measure taken for the sanitation could save them.

According to the professor, all means of travelling have the most common bacteria found in them, named Staphylococcus which may not be fatal but still can cause skin, heart and lungs problems. A problems raises from rats, they can also bring many bacteria from the sewage to the London Tube lines that can be seriously dangerous if humans come in contact with them.

Click here to see a visual representation of the results

Contradicting with the whole study, Jill Collis, Director of Health, Safety and Environment for TfL, said the Tube provides a safe way of travelling to the people of London as it is regularly cleaned by the professionals throughout the day and night. The travelers should not be bothered with any extra hygiene measures other than what they would generally take to go around the other public places in the city.

We’d add people riding the tube lines and buses should still practice good hygiene and regularly use hand sanitiser to minimize the risks. Also the cab drivers shouldn’t only clean the outside but also the inside of their vehicles regularly, for a safe environment and why not, a boost in business.