A London-based journalist has travelled the entirety of a London Underground line to try to find any bed bugs that might have migrated from France, where they are causing havoc in Paris.
Adam Toms, like many Londoners, is concerned that the red critters might have already infested the city’s metro network, with various sightings allegedly already made.
Transport for London has been advised to do away with the famous cloths that drape the seats, so as to make it easier to spot bedbugs.
He described vigorously “scanning the famous bright blue seats” on the Victoria line, which he travelled on all the way from Brixton to Walthamstow Central.
Writing for MyLondon, Adam thought he had spotted a dreaded bedbug at one stage, but it turns out his eyes deceived him – it was just a pile of satsuma peelings.
Before his underground odyssey, Adam spoke to a kiosk worker at Brixton station, who said he had been told by his daughter to “change his clothes” and have a shower as soon as he got home every day, amid fears that the insects might take over their home.
Pritish Patel told her “it’s in France”, but his daughter, who works in the city, shut down his protests, saying: “I’m five minutes away from King’s Cross here and anyone can come here via the Channel Tunnel – you’re too close to it”.
Nevertheless, Mr Patel concluded “I’m not concerned about it”, adding: “I find it quite amusing, but I’m sure there’s a serious side to it.”
Meanwhile, a customer service advisor at Brixton was “actually quite scared”, describing how her “whole house got infested” with bedbugs when she was younger, after her then-boyfriend brought an old mattress into his mum’s house.
“It was a madness, we had to throw everything out”, she continued.
She thinks TfL should get rid of the fabric seat covers for hygiene reasons – “get the plastic ones”.
Despite Adam’s investigation, in which he swapped carriages at regular intervals and had “a proper rummage”, he couldn’t find any of the six-legged menaces.
Sadiq Khan has acknowledged how bedbugs are “a real source of concern”, while TfL has stated it is disinfecting its Tube services on a daily basis.