Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that the latest figures show that the Tube reached 4 million journeys last Thursday, a further step towards ridership returning to pre-pandemic levels.
Last week (19 – 25 November 2023), 24.78 million Tube journeys were completed, with Thursday seeing the highest number of Tube journeys with around 4.05 million, demonstrating a further milestone for London’s transport network as it rebounds following the pandemic.
This is up 7.6 per cent on the equivalent day last year (24 November 2022), when ridership was around 3.76m. With more than 500 trains in service across the network – 100 plus of which are around 50 years old – the Tube’s frequent service is vital for commuters, shoppers and visitors to London, as well as supporting economic growth in London and around the country.
Midweek ridership on the Tube is now regularly above 3.7m journeys and up around 6.5 per cent compared to last year, with ridership on Monday and Friday now regularly above 3m journeys a day, and higher than 3.6m on Fridays as people take advantage of the festive season.
Weekend ridership also continues to grow, with several Tube stations around central London already close to or exceeding levels seen before the pandemic.
Ridership on the Night Tube and Night Overground services shows that around 60,000 journeys take place on a Friday night between 0030 and 0430, and close to 70,000 journeys on a Saturday night between 0030 and 0430 – showing that people across London are now enjoying all the night life that the City has to offer.
Across London, bus ridership also continues to grow, with around five million journeys now being made daily. The new Superloop network limited-stop express bus routes, which by spring 2024 will circle the entire capital and connect key town centres, stations and transport hubs in outer London, are also helping to drive ridership in outer London.
The Elizabeth line has also massively helped to encourage people back onto public transport and supported these increases in ridership.
Since it opened on 24 May 2022, the line, which stretches from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, has now seen around 270 million journeys, and more than 720,000 journeys made each day during the Tuesday to Thursday period. The busiest day ever on the railway since opening was Thursday 9 November which saw more than 766,000 journeys, and it regularly has one of the highest customer satisfaction scores of all the TfL modes of transport.
Ridership across the Docklands Light Railway and London Overground networks are also continuing to grow towards levels seen before the pandemic, with around 325,000 journeys made on the DLR and around 625,000 journeys made on London Overground on an average weekday.
With ridership continuing to grow, and the latest estimates on population data from the Office of National Statistics suggesting that London’s population in mid-2022 was back to around 8.86m, it is essential that TfL invests to continue modernizing its services to support rising demand and growth.
TfL can cover the costs of three quarters of the vital capital investment next year, but it seeking confirmation that the Government will provide the remaining proportion that it has consistently acknowledged that TfL will need and will support jobs across London and the entire country.
Confirmation was not given by the Government in the Autumn Statement, and the situation is now urgent if TfL is going to be able to continue to provide reliable services that can support the growth now being witnessed.
TfL welcomes the Government’s commitment to invest in transport across the UK, boosting productivity in the country’s network of strong city regions. But despite the Underground being considered a national asset which has always previously received support, London is being forced to exist without the multi-year ‘London-style’ funding agreements that are being introduced elsewhere.
Investment in London’s transport has direct and substantial benefits for jobs and growth outside the capital – whether through direct manufacturing or supply chains – with more than 100,000 jobs in TfL’s supply chain outside of London.
“If TfL were to receive a similar long-term capital funding deal, the number of jobs that could be unlocked across the UK, and the economic good this could deliver, would have the potential to grow significantly in the coming years.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “It’s fantastic to see London truly roaring back post-pandemic – this impressive boost in ridership will support London’s and indeed the whole UK’s wider economy recovery. There’s no doubt that as Christmas approaches the appeal of London’s world-leading shops, restaurants and other venues is as strong as ever.
“This data shows that people are returning to their pre-pandemic travel patterns. We can’t rest on our laurels – In order to further support this boom and deliver the world class transport system London deserves we need sustained capital investment over multiple years with support from central Government.
“This will help us support jobs and economic growth in London and across the country, and build a better, more prosperous London for all.”
Andy Lord, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “It’s great news that we are now seeing ridership numbers reach 4 million a day on the Tube again, and that ridership is growing across our services.
“Public transport is a fundamental component of our economic recovery, and we must continue to encourage public transport use if we are to revive and grow our economy.
“However, we need the Government to urgently confirm that they will provide the capital investment support we need for 2024/25. TfL’s investment in the supply chain supports more than 100,000 jobs across the UK, almost half of which are in small medium enterprises, who are also reliant on TfL’s funding certainty.”