The Elizabeth line, which stretches from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, has now seen more than one hundred million journeys since opening in May 2022. Transport for London (TfL) data also reveals that ridership on the line is currently above expected levels with around 600,000 journeys made each day, meaning the railway is one of the busiest in the UK and is on track to break even by the end of the 2023/24 financial year. The data clearly shows the popularity of the capital’s newest transport option and the benefit of investing in transport in London.
The five most popular journeys made on the Elizabeth line all include Tottenham Court Road, with the most popular journey on the line being Tottenham Court Road to Stratford. The popularity of Tottenham Court Road has propelled the station into the top five most-used stations in the TfL network, above Waterloo and Liverpool Street stations.
Business groups and small businesses in and around the new stations across the Elizabeth line have hailed its transformative effect since its launch. For many businesses, the new railway has helped power growth and recovery by attracting new customers. The Elizabeth line connects world-leading financial centres in the Square Mile and Canary Wharf to key business and event hubs in the east including the Royal Docks, and to London’s cultural and creative heart in the West End. Access to Heathrow Airport has also been transformed for customers and businesses all over London and the South East.
Since opening, the Elizabeth line has proven to be one of the most reliable railways in the country. Data from the most recent four-week period shows an overall industry performance rating of nearly 93 per cent, compared to the average industry performance of 78.5 per cent. Customer satisfaction for the line has to date also been extremely high. According to TfL’s Customer Satisfaction Survey, the Elizabeth line achieved the highest score across all TfL services between July and September last year.
On 21 May, TfL will introduce the final version of the Elizabeth line timetable as planned, and the Elizabeth line will have increased the capacity of central London’s rail network by around 10 per cent since opening. The service in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel will increase to up to 24 trains per hour during the peak and initially 16 trains per hour off-peak. At this point, some direct services will be introduced from Shenfield to Heathrow Airport in the off-peak. The final timetable, which was published and confirmed by Network Rail earlier this week, will also remove any significant dwell times for trains between Paddington and Acton Main Line which have been in place since November 2022.
Seb Dance, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “The Elizabeth line has transformed the way Londoners get around and continues to go from strength to strength. It is helping to build a better London – one which is a safer, fairer, greener, and more prosperous city for all.
“I’m so proud that we’ve now seen more than 100 million journeys since the line opened in May last year. The Elizabeth line’s speedy and reliable trains combined with the excellent accessibility for passengers is helping to encourage people on to public transport, increasing the capacity of TfL’s network, and supporting businesses right across the city.”
Richard Holden, Transport Minister, said: “100 million journeys in less than a year is absolutely astounding – working out at almost 400,000 journeys every day, I’m delighted that the Government played a part through its crucial £9 billion investment”
“It’s clear that the line has already had a transformational impact on travel across London and the South East better connecting people while also creating over 55,000 jobs across the UK during construction. I’m excited to see where this line takes us over the next year and into the future.”
Howard Smith, TfL’s Director of the Elizabeth line, said: “It has been amazing to see the incredible reception the Elizabeth line has received. Our new railway has truly transformed life and travel in London and the South East by dramatically improving transport links, cutting journey times, providing additional capacity, and transforming accessibility. My team and I are already focused on continuing to improve things for our customers and we look forward to welcoming the next one hundred million journeys and beyond.”
Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “It’s fantastic news for the West End that the Elizabeth line has reached another milestone. Improving connectivity and accessibility comes at a time when our members need it the most. If it is easy, accessible and enjoyable for residents, workers and visitors to get around, then this supports the businesses and cultural institutions of the West End.”
Dee Corsi, CEO at New West End Company, said: “Today’s milestone is a major achievement for the West End, and reflects how improved transport links are helping more people discover all that that the district has to offer. We’re optimistic that the rise in footfall will continue, and we’re confident the direct link to Heathrow Airport will show its value in bringing even more international visitors to the district.”
Shobi Khan, CEO of Canary Wharf Group, said: “What a fantastic milestone for London’s newest transport link, a project Canary Wharf Group is incredibly proud to have played a part in from delivering a fabulous mixed-use station, to watching passengers take their first steps in May 2022. The Elizabeth line has transformed our public transport capacity and reduced journey times, allowing more people to work, live and visit us and enjoy our extraordinary environment. We look forward to the station continuing to serve as a fantastic gateway to Canary Wharf.”
Direct Elizabeth line services into central London from Reading, Heathrow, and Shenfield commenced in November last year. The launch of direct services into central London also coincided with the start of Sunday services, marking the operation of seven-days-a-week Elizabeth line services.
Customers can plan their journeys on the Elizabeth line using the TfL Go app and Journey Planner.
Photo credit: TfL