Covent Garden station is one of the few stations in Central London for which platform access is only by lift or stairs and is reportedly the busiest station on the network of this type. To control congestion on Saturday afternoons, when the surrounding shopping areas are at their busiest, the station was previously exit only to avoid the risk of dangerous overcrowding of the platforms, but following replacement of the lifts, this restriction has been lifted. There are four lifts which give access to street level, although a final flight of stairs from the lifts to the platforms means that the station is wheelchair inaccessible. Alternatively, there is an emergency spiral stair. During the lift journey a recorded announcement is played asking passengers to have their tickets/passes ready as they exit the lifts and advising where to turn for Covent Garden's market.
The journey between Leicester Square station and Covent Garden is only 260 metres (0.161 miles), the shortest distance between two adjacent stations on the Underground network. Interestingly, this means that London Underground's standard £4 single fare for the journey between these two stations equates to £24.84 a mile, making this fare for this particular journey more expensive per mile than the Venice Simplon Orient Express. Posters at the station give details of the alternative methods of getting to and from Covent Garden using surrounding stations.
Transport for London has made a commitment to ease the congestion at the station, which may involve the creation of a new exit further north along Long Acre (i.e. away from Covent Garden Piazza and nearer the eclectic shopping area which surrounds Neal's Yard), and the provision of escalator access.
It is said that the ghost of actor William Terriss haunts the station. The last reported sighting of William Terriss was in 1972..