The latest month’s passenger numbers in London have been released which show decent levels of passenger numbers across many forms of Transport in London – with the exception of buses.
Usual caveats apply of course with a single month’s data. Strikes, number of workdays, bank holidays, weather and other events all have an impact, though we do now also have the first quarter of this financial year.
Firstly TfL rail is doing great numbers. This is the Elizabeth line and showed 16 million journeys in the latest month’s numbers compared to 8.1 million last year. No great surprise now through running and service improvements are in place, though teething troubles continue with a fair few days of major delays seen recently.
The DLR was at 7.9 million compared to 6.7m last year. In 2019 it was at 9.3m. Not bad at all given the Elizabeth line is now running.
As for the Cable Car it continues to do better than most years before the pandemic at 0.14m. Yes we’re talking rounding errors in the grand scheme of things. I’d recently found out about the one year, 10-trip ticket for £17 so doing my bit to help that total.
Underground usage was at 90.2 million journeys compared to 71.7m last year. It was 108 million in 2019.
The tube is at around the levels of 2011 now while the DLR, for example, is comfortably above.
Continuing the theme of decent growth compared to 2022, London Overground was at 14.6 million journeys compared to 11.1 million in 2022. Higher than last year but also above both 2018 and 2019. It’s the star of the show right now.
And then we get to buses. They were falling quickly even before 2020 yet remain comfortably the single biggest mode of public transport. This year there were 145.8 million journeys. In 2022 it was 138m.
Back in 2019 it was 171.4m, and back in 2015 it was 189.9m.
Buses have been in long term decline. Many will have their reasons why. For me they’re frustrating at best. Very slow speeds whether high levels of traffic or not, often being held to “regulate the service”, hot in summer, obstructed by badly parked cars and all round something to avoid if any other alternative.
When the new Superloop express buses begin I’ll consider using them a fair bit more. A bus that isn’t painfully slow would actually have some appeal.
But aside from buses TfL will be happy with various levels across rail modes, and higher than budgeted expectations for this financial year.