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Photograph: Alena Veasey/Shutterstock.com

Mind the gap! More than 2 million people used the tube last Thursday

It’s the highest figure in 18 months. The *groan* rush hour is coming back too

Chris Waywell
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Chris Waywell
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For the first time since the capital went into lockdown in March 2020, daily passenger numbers on the London Underground have topped the 2 million mark. Last Thursday, to be precise, 2,034,000 people caught the tube, the highest recorded number in more than 18 months. There are indications that rush hour is coming back too: the figure included 325,000 journeys between 8am and 9am, an increase of nearly 20 percent on the previous week’s figures. The timing obviously has had a hand in this spike: kids are back in schools, so more parents will be going into work, and a lot of people will have come back from whatever constituted their summer holiday this year.

Still, a certain amount of seasonal variation notwithstanding, there are definite indications in the number that more people are coming into central London and using public transport. Partly, this is probably prompted by the news that Covid rates in the capital aren’t on the increase, unlike the rest of the country.

There’s a way to go, though. Tube use levels are only just over half of what they were before the pandemic, although bus travel in the capital is around two-thirds of Before Times rates. This means less revenue for TfL for starters, but it also has a knock-on effect for hospitality, culture and retail businesses in central London. The mayor’s #LetsDoLondon campaign has been encouraging people to use public transport in the city to help the nightlife, venues and shopping sectors, but it looks like it will be a while before we’re all back literally cramming ourselves into steamy jam-packed tube trains, and, frankly, who can blame us?

There’s a great immersive murder mystery game on the Mail Rail.

There are two totally new stations on London Underground

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