Booming London exceeds pre-pandemic ridership levels


London’s roaring summer of blockbuster events is helping Transport for London’s ridership figures start to exceed pre-pandemic levels on some weekends as overall ridership bounces back.

Latest figures show that stations in central London are hitting pre-pandemic levels at weekends, if not exceeding them, with international events and London’s cultural gems helping to drive a huge return of visitors to London. Weekday ridership levels on the Tube and bus are now regularly reaching at least 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. London Overground journeys are surging back to around pre-pandemic levels, while bus demand is also seeing a strong recovery.

London is enjoying a successful summer with more than one million people attending live music events across a week in July, and cinemas enjoying the busiest weekend for ticket sales in four years with people travelling to see the much-anticipated premieres of Barbie and Oppenheimer. It is also expecting to welcome two million more international arrivals this year compared to last year, bringing an additional £674m.

Recent ridership stats show that Tube figures on Saturdays have surpassed 2019 levels on several occasions including 29 April (104 per cent), 27 May (103 per cent) and 17 June (104 per cent). Furthermore, Harry Styles’s concert on 17 June saw Wembley Park Underground station have its highest ever number of Saturday entries and exits, with almost 134,000 entries and exit – and Blur’s concert on 8 July at Wembley saw the station have 120,000 entries and exits, compared to around 50,000 on a typical Saturday without an event.

Meanwhile the London Pride parade on 1 July saw 6.9 million entries and exits on the Tube network– the busiest Saturday on the network since December 2019.  That same weekend, the Northern line saw the highest figures for any line on the Night Tube since the New Year, with 86,000 entries and exits between 00:30 and 04:30 at the stations it serves.

These figures are set against a backdrop of between three to four million Tube journeys every day across the TfL network (around 85 per cent of levels seen before the pandemic) and around five million bus journeys on weekdays (around 80-85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels). The Elizabeth line also continues to exceed predicted ridership levels, with more than 600,000 journeys on weekdays, and around 200m journeys since the line’s opening in May 2022.

This comes as TfL launches a new campaign highlighting the value and benefits public transport offers people with all travel needs and budgets, helping Londoners make the most of the exciting range of events in the city this summer. Through digital content, radio and posters, the campaign promotes the benefits of using public transport in the capital. The campaign also highlights features including daily capping, off-peak times and the bus and tram Hopper fare, that continue to make public transport a great value option for Londoners and international visitors, as an extra two million tourists are expected in the city this year.

This follows the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s, Let’s Do London campaign – the biggest domestic and international tourism campaign the capital has ever seen – to encourage Londoners and visitors back to our city – bringing in an extra £346m and 850,000 more overnight visitors to the city.

“London is roaring back this summer, with millions of tourists from around the globe and visitors from nearer afield joining Londoners using public transport to enjoy our incredible events and go to our world-renowned theatres, venues, galleries and museums,” said Khan. “There is so much still to look forward to with a wide array of festivals, events, exhibitions and performances showing why London is the greatest city in the world. It will truly be a summer to remember, as we continue to build an even better and more prosperous city for everyone.”

London’s transport commissioner, Andy Lord, added,

“London is once again bursting at the seams with things to do, and it is wonderful to see the city return to the same vibrancy it had before the pandemic. Public transport continues to be a vital part of London’s economic recovery, and just as there are events and festivals to suit all interests, there’s also a public transport option to suit your needs, whether it’s speed, cost or convenience that’s important to you. Our partnerships with top attractions across the city are also a great way to see and experience something new for less.”

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About Author


Saul Wordsworth is editor-at-large of Traffic Technology International (TTi), and presenter and producer of the TTi Podcast. He is an author and keen cyclist, and lives in north London.