Mayor of London hails seasonal boost to ridership numbers

Fireworks, Black Friday and Christmas events all said to be helping Transport for London recover passenger levels from the lows of the pandemic, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Burnt Oak Station
Burnt Oak Station

New figures showing big increases in London’s transport ridership over the festive period have been hailed by mayor Sadiq Khan as further evidence of the capital “roaring back” after the pandemic.

Data released by Transport for London (TfL) today (Tuesday 12th) showed that entries and exits at particular tube stations were significantly boosted on dates when they were hosting Christmas events.

At Battersea Power Station, on the Northern Line extension, there were 52,814 entries and exits on 4th November, the day of the Battersea Park fireworks – almost double the number seen on the previous Saturday.

Later that month, at Kew Gardens, there was a 53% increase in entries and exits during the first three days of Christmas at Kew, which opened on 15th November, in comparison to the same three days the previous week.

The Black Friday sales appear also to have boosted ridership into the city centre, with entries and exits at Oxford Circus station 27% higher on Black Friday than the average of the previous four Fridays.

Commenting on TfL’s findings, the mayor said: “We have worked really hard so that London could roar back after the pandemic, and Christmas this year in the capital is set to be one simply too big to miss. From ice skating to Winter Wonderland, there’s a vast array of festive attractions to choose from and a special Christmas tube map to help you get there.

“Whether you’re doing some Christmas shopping, visiting a festive attraction or attending a gig, I encourage Londoners and visitors alike to get out there this Christmas and experience everything the city has to offer.”

Data from the Heart of London Business Alliance has also shown that footfall in the West End on Saturday, 25th November, after Black Friday this year, was 29% higher compared to the previous three Saturdays of the month.

TfL commissioner Andy Lord said: “There’s a host of events in central London to mark the festive season and we’re also encouraging Londoners and visitors this year to look outside central London and check out events on their doorstep, as well as the wonderful range of free events.”

Ridership on the night tube and night overground is now regularly at around 60,000 journeys on a Friday night between 12:30am and 4:30am, TfL said, and close to 70,000 journeys on a Saturday night between 12:30am and 4:30am.

A recent TfL report has also shown that bus demand this year is 8% higher than in 2022. Tube demand is 20% higher overall, while cycling trips are estimated to have increased by 5% in 2023.

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