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Commuters at Canada Water Underground station, London.
Gearoid Hayes

The current fuel crisis means the tube is packed again

Passenger numbers are at their highest since before the pandemic

Written by
Noah Barnett

The last few days have been trying. I’m not talking about the USA’s trouncing of Europe in the Ryder Cup. Or Adam Peaty’s snake hips on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. Of course, I’m talking about the ongoing fuel crisis in the UK. Semi-apocalyptic scenes have been recorded around the country as hysterical drivers queuing up for hours have resorted to violence over the lack of fuel, while the army is on standby to deliver us that sweet, sweet gasoline if required. In all seriousness, many people’s lives and schedules have been completely disrupted by the fuel crisis, and now the numbers are reflecting the reality of this shit situation.

Passenger data yesterday showed a 7 percent increase in travellers in London taking the tube, in addition to a 2 percent increase in bus trips last week. Rail passengers have also increased by 6 percent, topping off a week that has seen the highest passenger figures since the beginning of the pandemic.

The seemingly neverending queues at those lucky few filling stations that do still have petrol is one reason why Londoners are tapping their Oyster cards at levels not seen for 18 months; others suspect it also has to do with a steady increase of commuters going back into the office, as well as schools and universities returning.

Is it all the HGV drivers’ fault? Is it Brexit’s? Is it Boris’s? Frankly, no one really understands what the hell is going on right now in the UK’s take on ‘Mad Max’, but we do know one thing: the numbers will make great viewing for TfL, so maybe, just maybe, this is one question we’ll never really quite get to the bottom of.

Why is it so hard to get an Uber or Bolt right now?

Don’t worry about London buses, though, they won’t run out of gas.

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