London Tube users keener on a night out rather than office return

·2-min read
The slower-than-expected return of commuters has left Transport for London with £70 million less in fares than it had hoped (AP)
The slower-than-expected return of commuters has left Transport for London with £70 million less in fares than it had hoped (AP)

Londoners are keener to get back on the Tube to go shopping or to spend a night on the town than to return to the office, a transport chief has said.

Weekday passenger numbers have returned to about 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels but have topped 80 per cent at the weekend.

The slower-than-expected return of commuters has left Transport for London with £70 million less in fares than it had hoped, although income is more than double that of last year.

Vernon Everitt, TfL’s managing director for customers, said more than three quarters of Londoners had used the Underground in the past 28 days as confidence grew in public transport.

He said: “We are at over 70 per cent of normal ridership when we put everything together. The leisure market is coming back more sharply. The return to work is slower. People are very happy to return for leisure purposes.”

Separate figures show the London Overground has seen passengers return at a faster rate than any other mainline rail service in the UK.

Between April and June, there were 25.5 million journeys on the Overground, 56 per cent of normal levels.

Govia Thameslink, which carries more rail passengers than any other franchise and runs Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern trains into the capital, had 33.7 million passengers, 38.3 per cent of normal. This has since increased to more than 50 per cent.

Mr Everitt said the Government’s decision in June to delay the end of the lockdown for a month, followed by the August holiday season, meant it was likely TfL would “undershoot” its income targets for 2021-22. An announcement is expected this week on the restart of the Night Tube. Only one or two of its five lines are expected to reopen before Christmas, the Standard understands. A petition calling for its return has gathered more than 85,000 signatures.

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