The weekend preceding the late Queen Elizabeth’s funeral saw significant increases in London public transport use compared with the previous weekend, and the early morning of the event itself was busy compared with the final pre-pandemic bank holiday Monday of this time of year, before falling away.
Transport for London recorded 2.7 million journeys on the London Underground on Saturday 17 September, a rise of 8% compared with the previous Saturday, and 2.08 million on Sunday 18 September, up by 16% compared with the Sunday before.
On both days, the hikes in usage were concentred in central London stations, suggesting that the last two days of the period of mourning for the queen attracted extra people to the capital.
There were big increases on pre-Covid numbers especially on Sunday at Charing Cross, Green Park, Westminster and, in particular, Hyde Park Corner and St James’s Park stations.
Strikingly, on Monday morning until 10am Tube entries and exits – 460,000 – practically matched those of the 26 August 2019 bank holiday Monday, which TfL has taken as its baseline for comparison purposes. For Monday overall, they reached only around 64% of the 26 August 2019 number, though stations close to tourist destinations saw roughly 72%.
With the Queen’s funeral ceremony beginning at 11am and much normal economic activity suspended, it is thought likely many people chose not to travel into the heart of the capital for the bulk of the day.
Use of London’s buses services also increased on Saturday and Sunday, week-on-week – up by a more modest 3% on both weekend days. Bus use reached on 56% of the baseline 2019 figure. TfL has noted that “many routes were diverted or stopped short of their destination due to road closures”.
With the pandemic over and summer holidays and the mourning period for the Queen complete, uses of TfL bus and Tube services can now be expected to reflect stabilised “new normal” post-Covid demand patterns. Daily modal use and longer-term trends can be tracked using TfL’s Network Demand data.
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