PASSENGER numbers on London Underground’s (LU) network have recovered to 50% of pre-pandemic levels on weekdays, and 60% at weekends according to figures published by Transport for London (TfL) on August 27.

On average around, 1.8 million passengers are travelling on the LU network every weekday says TfL, with the biggest growth in ridership being seen during the evening peak from those using contactless payment.

Weekend growth is also strong with 58% of pre-pandemic levels recorded on August 21 and 62% on August 22. Most weekends for the last two months have topped 50% says TfL, with a peak of 67% carried on July 11 when both the Euro 2020 soccer final at Wembley and Wimbledon men’s tennis final were held in the capital.

The start of the football season has also boosted ridership says TfL. An example is the number of passengers using Arsenal Tube station in the hour before kick-off between Arsenal and Chelsea, which was as many in those 60 minutes as would use the station on an average recent weekday.

August 19 remains the busiest day for London stations so far, with more than 26,000 entry and exit taps at Farringdon and almost 45,000 at Canary Wharf. Oxford Circus now regularly sees more than 100,000 taps on weekdays and Saturdays.

Ridership on London Overground is also rising with record numbers for 2021 at several stations, with around 60% of pre-Covid passenger levels recorded.

Passenger numbers are also rising on routes from Heathrow Airport, which is served by LU and mainline trains, even though Terminal 4 Piccadilly Line station remains closed. This has been put down to the easing of restrictions for travelling abroad. TfL says the stations at the airport are currently seeing passenger levels at around a third of pre-pandemic levels and up from around 20% in mid-July.

TfL says passenger numbers on TfL Rail services, which will become part of the Elizabeth Line Crossrail route in the first half of 2022, remains strong at around 60% of normal demand.

“We’re welcoming customers back to a transport network that is cleaner than ever, with an enhanced cleaning regime, hospital grade cleaning products, widely available hand sanitiser and UV light fittings on escalator handrails to kill viruses,” says Mr Veron Everitt, TfL managing director for customers, communication and technology.