TfL Elizabeth line: Service smashes daily journeys record and passes 250 million trips since opening
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When it first began operating in May 2022, London’s newest line still required passengers travelling from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield to the centre of city to change at either Paddington or Liverpool Street mainline stations.
On November 6 last year it was opened up to “through running”, meaning customers could enjoy more regular services without having to interchange. And from May this year, services from Shenfield were finally extended all the way to Heathrow Airport.
Transport for London (TfL) has now revealed that, since it began ferrying passengers nearly 18 months ago, the Elizabeth line has been used more than a quarter of a billion times.
Its data further shows that its popularity has steadily grown over that period, with daily records broken on multiple occasions in the last couple of months. The current high-point of 758,000 was set earlier this week, on November 7.
The connections between the eastern and central sections of the service have proven particularly fruitful, with more than 40m journeys made since last November, compared to more than 25m journeys between the central and western stations over that same period.
Bond Street’s Elizabeth line service, which was opened on October 24 2022, meanwhile has seen the station’s daily journeys increase from 175,000 to 250,000, a hike of 43%.
The roll-out of the line has not been without issues, with data from the Office for Rail and Road (ORR) earlier this year showing that only 82.5% of its trains arrived on time between April and June.
Separate figures highlighted that the Elizabeth line had the most cancellations in the country in the four weeks to August 19. While subsequent weeks saw improvement, the stats highlighted some of the operational problems experienced.
London’s transport commissioner, Andy Lord, praised the Elizabeth line’s growing popularity and for improving connections for those travelling across the city.
“A year on from offering through journeys into central London without the need to change trains, it is also encouraging to see how many people have been able to make use of the improved transport connections,” he said.
“Bond Street station’s Elizabeth line connection and step-free access has further opened up the West End and also attracted more people to the area’s cultural venues, attractions and shops. Development in the area around the station has also been rapid, supporting new jobs, opportunities and economic growth.
“The Elizabeth line, and Bond Street, have been huge success stories, which clearly demonstrate the power of investing in transport for both the capital and wider economy. Many of the contractors and suppliers for the railway were also based in areas outside London and across the UK – supporting thousands of jobs across the country.”
Dee Corsi, chief executive at New West End Company, said: “In just twelve months, the introduction of the Elizabeth line to Bond Street station has provided the district with a remarkable boost, making it easier than ever before for visitors and office workers to access the district.
"By increasing rail capacity and offering a direct link to Heathrow, the railway has played an important role in driving an increase in international visitors post-pandemic.
“The line has also helped facilitate a growing ‘business district’ – with the Bond Street station concourse opening directly onto the newly renovated Hanover Square and underlining the desirability of the West End as a headquarter location for global businesses.
“The Elizabeth line will continue to play a critical role in the transformation taking place on Oxford Street in particular, as visitors spend more time taking in all the diverse experiences on offer, from immersive retail to leisure and cultural attractions.”