More than four million London Underground journeys have been completed on a single day for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2004, according to figures just released by Transport for London.
The figure was reached last Thursday and represents a 7.6 per cent increase on the equivalent day last year, drawing renewed calls from business leaders for national government investment in the capital’s transport networks in order to safeguard economic recovery.
Muniya Barua, deputy chief executive of BusinessLDN said the rising Tube numbers “demonstrate the urgent need for the government to agree a long-term capital funding settlement for TfL”.
Her call was echoed by Ros Morgan, chief executive of the Heart of London Business Alliance, who also renewed the long-running request for polices to encourage more visitors to London, such as bringing back VAT-free shopping for people from overseas.
The new Tube figures come alongside London bus journeys now regularly reaching around five million a day, the London Overground hitting 625,000 on an average weekday, and the Docklands Light Railway weekday figure at approximately 325,000.
More than 700,000 journeys are being taken on the new Elizabeth line on average between Tuesdays and Thursday, TfL says.
TfL points out that London’s population, as calculated by the Office for National Statistics, stood at approximately 8.86 million last year – a recovery to almost its pre-pandemic level as measured by the same methodology following a dip to only fractionally over eight million in 2021.
Hailing the “great news” about the Tube figures, Commissioner Andy Lord reiterated that public transport is a “fundamental component of our economic recovery”, pointing out that TfL’s investment supply chain supports over 100,000 jobs throughout the UK and adding his own request for “funding certainty” about spending on new rolling stock – some of London’s Underground trains are 50 years old – and other infrastructure.
Sadiq Khan said: “It is fantastic to see London truly roaring back post-pandemic. 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.”
Figures released yesterday about crime and antisocial behaviour on TfL’s networks showed an overall increase in the rate of offending on the Underground, notably a year-on-year hike in the number of thefts of personal property from 2,935 between April and September 2022 and the same six-month period this year.
However, the overall rate for all offending, including sexual offences and the theft of vehicles from TfL car parks, remains extremely low at 12.7 reported crimes per one million passenger journeys.
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