Home Business News Latest TfL figures show continued growth in ridership following lifting of working from home restrictions

Latest TfL figures show continued growth in ridership following lifting of working from home restrictions

by LLB Reporter
10th Feb 22 10:41 am

Millions of people are now regularly using public transport again across London, new figures from Transport for London (TfL) have confirmed – highlighting how vital the transport network is to the capital’s economic recovery.

New analysis of ridership data by TfL has revealed that, since working from home restrictions were lifted on 19 January 2022, the number of people using the Tube during weekdays has increased by at least 25 per cent. Ridership is now regularly around 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during the week – up from around 45 per cent in early January, with stations close to financial institutions such as Canary Wharf, Mansion House and Aldgate seeing ridership numbers between 8 and 9am already well on track to having double seen while working from home restrictions were in place. Ridership on the Waterloo and City line is now just under 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during peak hours, following a full weekday service resuming on 31 January.

At weekends, ridership on the Tube is now at around 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and key tourist stations such as Leicester Square are already seeing ridership levels above 80 per cent on Saturday. The Night Tube is continuing to see increased ridership, with levels on the Victoria and Central line now at around 45 per cent of those seen on those lines prior to the pandemic. Ridership on the Night Overground, which operates between Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate on Friday and Saturday nights, is also now around 50 per cent of levels seen before the pandemic.

While bus ridership has consistently been more than 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels since April 2021, the recent lifting of restrictions has led to the overall number of journeys increasing by around eight per cent compared to early January. In outer London boroughs, weekday bus ridership is now regularly at 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, with ridership in Hillingdon and Barking seeing levels at around 80 per cent – especially at weekends.

Some bus routes across London, such as the route 90, which goes between Northolt station and Feltham station via Hayes and Harlington, and the route EL2 which links the new Barking Riverside development to Barking town centre and Dagenham Dock station, are now seeing around 87 per cent of normal levels of ridership – showing the importance of a regular, accessible bus network in outer London to supporting London and the UK’s continued economic revival.

The recent increase further demonstrates that customers are increasingly confident in using public transport and are keen to return to the city and explore all it has to offer. Across London a near-normal service on TfL’s buses, Tubes and TfL-run rail services remains in operation, with the exception of the Northern line where a planned closure between Moorgate and Kennington until mid-May is allowing major work at Bank to increase the station’s capacity, provide step-free access and make journeys quicker and easier. Ridership is expected to continue to improve as domestic and international tourism recovers, and offices and businesses reopen and reoccupy during the week.

Customers are also reminded that face coverings remain mandatory on any TfL service or station as a condition of carriage, unless they are exempt. Those who do not comply could be prevented from entering the network or asked to leave TfL services. Face coverings protect both the wearer and other customers, and a recent academic study by the University of Leeds showed that people travelling on the London Underground and similar rail systems were at a low risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. The study also showed that wearing a face covering can significantly reduce risk of the virus spreading on public transport.

This increased ridership is hugely important if the capital is to drive the national recovery from the pandemic. London’s net contribution to the Treasury was £36 billion in the year before the pandemic, and TfL contracts contribute around £7bn to the UK economy while supporting 43,000 jobs around the country, with 55p of every pound spent on London Underground by TfL going outside of London.

Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “London’s transport network is crucial for a sustainable recovery, and it’s fantastic to see passengers confidently using it as they return to workplaces and to enjoy all the city has to offer. The increased footfall is great news for London’s businesses and hospitality venues which have been hit so hard by the pandemic. These figures also highlight how vital a comprehensive bus network is for London, not only for people getting around central London but also for those who don’t live as near to other modes of transport – with some areas in outer London nearly at pre-pandemic levels once again. It’s crucial that the Government agree long-term capital funding, so we are able to keep these services running, to aid both London’s recovery and that of the wider country. Throwing that all away now would be a tragedy with far-reaching consequences for Londoners and rest of the UK.”

Andy Lord, Chief Operating Officer for Transport for London, said: “It’s great to see that ridership on our services is continuing to grow in recent weeks as restrictions about working from home have been lifted. Weekday Tube ridership is now around 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, and at weekends is even higher – reaching three quarters of normal demand at certain times. Bus ridership is also regularly  at around 75 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, showing how vital the extensive network is to help people commute, get to school or visit friends and family.

“Public transport is key to the capital’s recovery from the pandemic, and we continue to run a near-normal service across our Tubes, buses and trains. These latest figures indicate that millions of Londoners are now regularly using public transport, showing continued confidence that services are safe, clean and reliable.”

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