Mayoral Election Issues: Public Transport

Taxi Bus Tube-2-1London has 19,000 bus stops, 270 Underground stations, 83 Overground stations and 45 DLR stations.  So you’d think that public transport would be pretty convenient for people right across the city. Well, not necessarily.

For inner city dwellers public transport is the obvious way to get around.  The best access to public transport, measured by Transport for London[1], is for the residents of the City of London.  But all the outer London boroughs score below average.

Urbs has mapped the TfL index which measures access to public transport across the city to show the borough variations.  Predictably, those in central London have the easiest access.  The average score on the index for the whole of London is 3.8. In the City of London it is 7.9 and in Westminster 6.5.  The poorest scores are on the eastern and western edges of the capital, in Havering and Hillingdon.

Public Transport Map 1-2

The index measures the number, reliability, waiting times and walking distances for public transport in a neighbourhood.  It does not take account of the speed, ease of connections or number of people using a service.  The index uses 9 level of public transport access.  All the residents of the City of London are in the top 2 levels. More than half the residents of Hillingdon are in the bottom 3.  The worst place in Hillingdon for public transport access is Harefield ward, home to the eponymous hospital.  All 7,399 residents of the ward fall into the bottom 3 levels for public transport access.

The outer areas of London that have low scores for public transport access have the highest level of car ownership. There are 2.71 million cars and light goods vehicles in London[2].  Ownership is low in inner London areas and highest in Havering and Hillingdon with 49 cars per 100 people.

Public Transport Map 2-2

Car ownership has gone up a little in the past 12 months but the trend over the past 5 years has been down.  Over the same period there has been a big jump in the use of public transport, growing at twice the rate of population growth[3].  In the past 5 years the number of journeys taken on the Transport for London system of Tube, train, tram and bus has gone up by 14% while the population has risen by half that rate.

The number of people in inner London, who may be more reliant on public transport, has grown slightly faster than the rate for the capital as a whole, but the data underlines that the greater use of the transport network is linked not just to population but to economic factors.

The greatest growth in passenger numbers is on the Tube with a 24% increase in journeys between the financial year 2010/11 and the most recent 12 months. Bus journeys rose by 3% over the same period. But the bus is still the most popular form of transport. Latest data from TfL shows that in the last 12 months buses carried 2.4 billion people while 1.4 billion Tube journeys were recorded.

Public transport chart 3-2

So are the growing number of passengers taking growing numbers of journeys getting good value?  On price alone, the answer seems to be no.

The financial services firm UBS conducts an annual survey of prices and earnings across cities around the globe[4]. In its most recent survey it judged London to be the third most expensive for public transport out of 71 cities. Only Copenhagen and Stockholm were more expensive.

UBS focused on single ticket prices on a bus, tram or underground system travelling 10 stops or 10 kilometres for its comparison.

We have made a more like-for-like analysis looking at pricing on the underground systems in London, New York and Paris using multi-journey tickets that locals would use.

A journey on the Tube in zones 1-3 costs £2.80 on an Oyster/contactless fare. A subway journey in New York using its Metrocard costs $2.75 (£1.94) and a single journey on the Paris Metro costs €1.44 (£1.15) using a Carnet.

Zac Goldsmith has promised to increase the network capacity and deliver the Night Tube plan. Sadiq Khan has promised to freeze fares for four years.  Neither candidate is likely to argue that it is a simple either/or between better or cheaper, but the messages they have sent so far certainly sets up an interesting question about what really concerns Londoners most about their public transport system.

[1] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/public-transport-accessibility-levels

[2] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/licensed-vehicles-type-0

[3] http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/public-transport-journeys-type-transport/resource/a7a69c22-150c-49f3-a1fd-90d4c24d98d4

[4] https://www.ubs.com/microsites/prices-earnings/open-data.html

This report was produced in association with London Live’s election special programme London Votes.

It’s been a long time coming, so who’ll be aboard the Night Tube?

tube coming to station-2

The dispute about the Night Tube has has led to strikes causing misery for millions of Londoners.  It will be introduced this summer, but a poll by the Greater London Authority has found that a quarter of Londoners say they’ll never use it.

The GLA asked 1,000 people from across the capital their views on the Night Tube in a quarterly survey it carries out to canvas views about a range of issues.  The poll found that 26% said they would never use the service and that jumps to more than a third when those who say they would use it less than once or twice a year are added.

Those who will never use it outnumber the hard core party animals it seems.  18% of those surveyed said they’d use the service every weekend which includes 8% of those surveyed who’d use it every Friday and Saturday.

Not surprisingly, the figures on intended use look very different when broken down into age groups.  60% of over 65s say they’ll never use it and 43% of those 55-64.  But for younger people looking to enjoy their night out well into the early morning it’s a different picture. 49% of 18-24s say they’ll catch it every weekend, and for 25-34s it’s a massive 70%.

People in inner London are more likely to use the service than those in outer areas, and Asian people emerged from the survey with the lowest appetite for the service – 68% said they would ever catch a Night Tube compared to 85% of black people surveyed.

The service was due to start running last September but has been delayed by the dispute between Transport for London and the unions over pay, working hours and staffing. TfL is yet to confirm a start date but the Mayor, Boris Johnson, has said that it will start running at the end of July.

The service will run round the clock on Fridays and Saturdays on five lines – Jubilee and Victoria and most of the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Night-Tube-Map-officia_622

Night Tube Map: Transport for London

While there is a clear age division on taking the Night Tube there was a lot more agreement on its benefits. 80% said that it would have a positive impact on London’s night time economy and 82% that it would be a good for those going to work overnight.  London’s reputation as a 24-hour city will be enhance by the service according to 89% of those surveyed.

But there were also some negatives. 46% are concerned about an increase in anti-social behaviour and 41% are worried about noise.

The survey was conducted by telephone with a representative sample of Londoners on the 11-18th March by ICM on behalf of the GLA.

Source data

See also

Crime down nearly a third in 5 years on buses, Tube and trains

Strikes are a commuting disaster, but what delays your daily Tube journey?

How London compares for the cost of public transport

 

 

Passenger data reveals busiest stations where Tube strike will hit hardest

TubeMillions of Londoners will be struggling to find an alternative route between home and work from tonight as another Tube strike closes the network for more than 24 hours, with no trains running from 6.30pm Wednesday and all of Thursday.

The strike is over payments for drivers to take on night shifts for the introduction of the Night Tube service at weekends from September.

Each day 4 million journeys are made on the Tube. There are 270 stations spread along the 400 kilometres of track. Urbs has been looking at data from Tfl on the use of the stations to see where the biggest impacts will be felt.

In 2014 there were 2.9 billion entries and exits across the Tube network. The busiest station is Oxford Circus with nearly 144,000 people entering the station and 157,000 exiting on the average weekday. Oxford Circus is one of 10 very high use stations that accounted for a quarter of all entries and exits on the network in 2014.

Most of the others are the capital’s main railway stations, with Bank and Canary Wharf serving the financial districts.

Tube busiest weekday

Almost 400 times as many people get on and off at Oxford Circus as at the quietest station on the Tube network, Roding Valley. London’s 3 quietest stations are at the eastern end of the Central Line. 4 others in the top 10 quietest are on the Metropolitan Line.

Tube quietest

A strike on the Tube on a weekday will obviously affect more people than a weekend as the network has 40% more passengers than on a Saturday and twice as many as on a Sunday. But the difference in weekday/weekend passengers is much more pronounced at some stations, showing the workplace focused and leisure focused areas of London.

The stations with the highest proportion of weekday usage are clustered around the city or serving commuters in the east. Some see 90% of their passengers on weekdays. They don’t include any of the main line stations that are among the busiest generally.

Tube weekday ratio

The stations with the highest proportion of weekend use are leisure-focused destinations in central London and all three stations at Heathrow

Tube weekend busy

Source data

See also

25% rise in TfL staff earning more than £100,000

Crime down nearly a third in 5 years on buses, Tube and trains