Transport for London sees busiest weekend in a year as restrictions ease

25 May 2021, 12:08 | Updated: 25 May 2021, 12:14

Transport for London welcomed millions of passengers on May 22 and 23
Transport for London welcomed millions of passengers on May 22 and 23. Picture: Getty

By Daisy Stephens

Transport for London (TfL) saw its busiest weekend in over a year as England continued on the roadmap out of lockdown.

The weekend of May 22 and 23 saw tubes, trains and buses much busier than they have been at any other point during the coronavirus pandemic, although still below what they were during the same period in 2019.

On Saturday the tube saw 3.11 million passengers, representing 58 per cent of normal demand and an increase of more than a quarter compared to the previous week.

Buses saw 60 per cent of normal demand, after a total of 5.2 million people boarded them over Saturday and Sunday.

The hire of Santander Cycles was also close to normal, with demand almost three quarters of the same period in 2019.

The figures represent the busiest weekend for public transport since March 14 and 15 2020, just over a week before Britain’s first coronavirus lockdown was announced on March 23.

The number of TfL passengers plunged during the lockdowns, with working from home, limitations on face-to-face socialising and advice not to travel outside your area giving people little reason to board a train, tube or bus.

The reduction has decimated TfL’s finances, with the organisation requiring a £1.6 billion government bailout in May 2020 and an additional £1.8 billion deal in November, which was due to expire in March but was extended for seven weeks to account for the prolonged period of restrictions.

As a result the increase in passenger numbers is likely to be welcome news for many, although the figures are still behind what they were before the pandemic.

Read more: Government changes Covid-19 guidance in 8 areas - with no official announcement

Read more: US advises against all travel to Japan two months before Tokyo Olympics

Coronavirus restrictions are relaxing across the country, with people in England now able to meet inside in groups of six or outside in groups of 30.

Bars, restaurants, cinemas, shops and indoor sports facilities are just some of the services that have reopened their doors in recent months, giving people more reason to use public transport.

A gradual shift away from working from home is also likely to see an increase in passengers.

The number of commuters is expected to rise over the coming months
The number of commuters is expected to rise over the coming months. Picture: Getty

The next stage of the government's roadmap out of lockdown is due for June 21.

However, Boris Johnson is unlikely to announce whether or not it will go ahead until a week before.

While case numbers remain low, concern over the Indian variant of Covid-19 - which is thought to be more transmissible than the current dominant strain in the UK - may pose a threat to the easing of restrictions.

The prime minister is expected to give more information about the strain and its potential impact in the coming weeks.

Read more: LBC reveals over 100 flights from India landed in UK since country placed on 'red list'

Read more: Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines offer 'high levels of protection' against Indian variant

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
The attack took place in Poland Street

Bloodbath near Oxford Street: Man stabbed to death at Korean restaurant in fourth London killing in days

The propagandist posted images of himself at the HQ on Telegram

Ukraine blows up Russia's 'Wagner mercenary HQ' after street sign gives away location

Adele Milloz

World champion ski mountaineer Adele Milloz dies after fall while climbing in the Alps

70 companies in the UK have been trialling a four-day week

UK's four-day week in jeopardy as pilot study gets off to rocky start

The new booster targets both the original Covid strain and the Omicron variant

Omicron booster vaccine authorised for use in UK in world first

Mr Mendy's trial has begun

Man City star Benjamin Mendy and co-accused 'saw women as things to be used for sex then thrown to one side'

Brandon Lewis

Boris Johnson still working and takes ‘red boxes’ on holiday, says Brandon Lewis

Jacob Rees-Mogg has told civil servants to search guests' social media profiles

Trawl guests' social media for 'extremism' and criticism of government policy, Rees-Mogg tells civil servants

Freya the walrus has been killed in Norway after crowds kept getting too close

Freya the walrus put to death in Norway because public wouldn’t stay away

Bus services could be at risk without post-pandemic funding, mayors have warned

Hundreds of bus routes could be axed as communities face being cut off from public transport, mayors warn

Harry and Meghan to return to Britain

Harry and Meghan to return: Sussexes will visit UK next month for the first time since Platinum Jubilee

Anne Heche's life support has been withdrawn after her husband shared a tearful tribute

Anne Heche's life support switched off as ex-husband pays tribute to 'brave and fearless' Hollywood star

Sir Salman Rushdie, far left and top right, and the suspect Hadi Matar, 24 (bottom right)

Salman Rushdie ‘brought attack on himself’ claims Iran’s foreign ministry

Kate and William's move to Windsor will leave no room for their live-in nanny

'No room for a nanny' as Kate and Will downsize to Windsor cottage

A-level pupils are being warned grades will take a hit this year with thousands set to lose their university place

A-level students warned thousands will lose their university place on results day as grades set to take a hit

Sir Keir Starmer has set out Labour's £29 billion emergency cost of living plan

'Consumers won't pay a penny more': Keir Starmer reveals Labour's £29 billion emergency cost of living plan