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Passenger numbers on the Tube shot up by almost 10 per cent on Thursday morning compared to the same time last week as Londoners return to the office following the end of working from home guidance.

There were 1.09 million entries and exits on the Tube up to 10am on 20 January according to TfL, an eight per cent increase compared to last Thursday. Buses meanwhile saw 1.19 million boarding taps up to 10am, a three per cent increase on last Thursday’s figure.

It comes following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Wednesday that working from home guidance would end immediately, while remaining Plan B restrictions will expire next week.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said the end of restrictions is “great news” for London’s economy, with footfall expected to pick up on public transport and in businesses across the capital.

Tube ridership slumped by as much as 38 per cent in one week at the height of the Omicron wave in London last month, leading to further fears over TfL’s financial situation.

But Thursday’s figures paint a more positive picture for London’s transport network, showing a quick return to the levels seen before the introduction of Plan B measures.

On Wednesday January 19, there were around two million Tube journeys made throughout the day, an increase of four per cent compared to last Wednesday, while bus journeys increased by two per cent.

Overall, Tube ridership is around 10 per cent higher when compared with figures from last week.

But passenger numbers are still some way off reaching pre-pandemic levels, with Tube ridership currently at around 48 per cent of pre-pandemic levels while bus passenger numbers are faring slightly better at around 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

During weekends, the increase in passengers travelling for leisure brings the Tube to around 60 per cent of pre-pandemic ridership.

TfL has said the recent closure of the Bank branch of the Northern Line is also contributing to the slower recovery of Tube passenger numbers as commuters seek alternative routes, such as the new temporary 733 bus route from between Oval and Moorgate.

The section of the Northern Line will be closed for 17 weeks while upgrades to Bank station are completed.

Joe Talora - Local Democracy Reporter

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January 21, 2022