London Underground ridership returns to pre-Covid levels in major shopping venues

There were 3.19 million subway trips made in the capital, which is 94 percent of the 3.38 million made on the first Saturday in December 2019. (AFP via Getty Images)

Visitors to major shopping areas have returned to pre-pandemic levels as the Christmas shopping spree sets in, the latest data from Tube has revealed.

More than one million entries and exits were registered on Saturday at stations serving Oxford Street, Knightsbridge, Kensington and Stratford.

There were 3.19 million Metro journeys made in the capital, which is 94% of the 3.38 million made on the first Saturday of December 2019.

Bus ridership was at 87% of normal: There were 4.23 million journeys, up from 4.86 million three years ago.

The effect of the Elizabeth line saw 201,000 entries and exits at Tottenham Court Road, 81,000 more than in 2019. Bond Street had 153,000 entries and exits, up by 11,000.

But Oxford Circus dropped by 52,000 to 186,000, perhaps because passengers were diverted to avoid crowds.

More than a million entrances and exits registered on the weekend (PA)

More than a million entrances and exits registered on the weekend (PA)

Some 508,000 voyages were made along the Elizabeth line.

Glynn Barton, chief operating officer at TfL, said: “Weekend ridership levels on the Tube and buses are getting ever closer to those seen before the pandemic and it’s good to see that in stations near major shopping venues we’re reaching , if not surpassing, this.

“This is hugely positive for both TfL and the city at large as we take the next steps to support and grow the UK economy.”

Andy Lord, the interim transport commissioner for London, was due to present the figures to TfL’s board on Wednesday as he pledged to attract more passengers to the tube.

Metro journeys on weekdays are approximately 75% late and lower on Mondays.

TfL’s business plan predicts that by March 2026 overall tube travel will have reached just 86% of pre-pandemic levels, while bus travel will be at 91%.

Dee Corsi, chief executive of the New West End Company, said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of visitors across the West End, many of whom are taking advantage of the fantastic new service on the Elizabeth line. ​Our hope is that the people continue to enjoy all that the neighborhood has to offer during the holiday season.”

Ros Morgan, chief executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “It is fantastic news that Tube travel has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“World-class transport infrastructure, such as the new Elizabeth line, sends the message loud and clear that, as the capital, London is open to workers, visitors and investors. If the West End is more accessible and it’s more pleasant to get around, then that increases visitor numbers.”

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