Umbrellas, bags, gloves, books, keys, all left behind on London’s public transport services and meticulously catalogued by the Lost Property Office.

Each year, they release annual figures, and yet again, there has been a rise in the number of careless minds forgetting to collect their belongings when leaving the train or bus or taxi.

The tram is separate and has its own lost property office.

Lost Property April 2015-March 2016

Category Items Found Reclaimed % Reclaimed
Bags 43,068 17,323 40.3%
Books, Documents & Cards 80,777 10,022 12.4%
Clothing 43,277 4,261 9.8%
Eyewear 14,206 1,014 7.1%
Gloves 4,226 132 3.1%
Jewellery 5,549 235 4.2%
Keys 11,987 1,211 10.0%
Miscellaneous 29,016 3,974 13.7%
Telephones 32,929 13,473 41.3%
Umbrellas 11,509 286 2.5%
Valuables 33,208 13,992 42.2%
Total 309,752 65,923 21.3%

During 2014/15, the total lost was 302,714, with 21.3% reclaimed, and in 2013/14, the total lost was a mere 267,932 with 21.1% reclaimed.

We seem to be coming more clumsy, but more concerned with getting back what we lost.

The stand out item is that staple of the Lost Property office, the umbrella, with over 11,000 lost, but barely a handful reclaimed. Having recently forked out a small fortune for a hand-made umbrella, if I were to lose it on the tube, I would indeed be one of the few distraught faces to appear at the Lost Property office asking if it has been handed in.

Oh, and it’s worth making a note of your mobile phone serial number, if you lose it, they will want that to identify which of the bazzilion of iPhones in their warehouse is yours. The rarity of people keeping that serial number safe is probably one of the factors as to why nearly 60% of lost phones are not reclaimed.

Of the lost items, 57.4% were left on buses, 36.6% were left on the tube, 3.3% on London Overground, 1.5% in taxis, and 1.2% at “other locations”, including the London Transport Museum, Victoria Coach Station, and the Dangleway.

Unclaimed items are usually sold off at auction, and along with unclaimed cash and other admin fees, the Lost Property office generated £734,641 in revenue during the past year.

If you do lose an item on the TfL controlled public transport, it is held at the nearest ticket office for a week, and then transferred to the Lost Property office.


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