Thousands forced to stand as train overcrowding worsens

© Olilee2 | - Train At Clapham Junction Photo-2

Photo: © Olilee2 |

Around a quarter of the 563,000 people who arrive at London’s main rail terminals each weekday morning on their commute to work have to stand for their journey. That’s 139,000 people each day who don’t get a seat in exchange for their ticket.

The data was released by the Department of Transport and gathered by the train operators in autumn 2014. It shows that the number of people standing on trains in the morning rush hour has gone up by more than 15% since autumn 2013.

Of the 139,000 people who are forced to stand 84,000 of them arrive in London in the peak hour 08.00 to 08.59. The numbers are better on the way home. Only 78,000 are standing during the evening peak period as journeys home from work are more staggered than arrival times.

Paddington Station has the highest rates of overcrowding on arriving trains each weekday morning. And the train operator with the worst rates is First Great Western.

Train overcrowding is measure in a statistic called Passengers in Excess of Capacity (PiXC). This shows the proportion of standard class passengers in excess of the capacity of the service at its busiest point.

Train overcrowding London

The rate at Paddington in the morning rush hour is 13.5%. Trains arriving at Blackfriars and Moorgate are 10.6% over capacity, and the rate of overcrowding has increased at all London’s main train terminals except Victoria and Euston since 2013. The largest increase in the over capacity rate was at Moorgate.

train overcrowding london rise

The average rate of overcrowding for all trains at London terminals in the morning rush hour is 5.4% and slightly lower at 4.1% if morning and evening are counted together. This is directly in line with a 4.2% increase in passenger journeys between autumn 2013 and 2014. Much of the increase in is due to the improvement in the economy which has resulted in demand returning to pre-recession levels due to a growth in employment in central London.  Outside London, Manchester is the city with the worst rates.

Train overcrowding national


The one service that emerges with a good statistical record from these rather grim figures is London Overground. It has no over capacity rates on morning or evening services, but many of its trains have fewer seats and more standing areas, increasing their capacity but not necessarily the comfort of the passengers. It has the highest proportion of passengers standing of any train operator but they are all within the train capacity limit.

Source data

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

© Anizza | you have been on a particularly rowdy or perhaps scary night bus journey you may find this hard to believe, but travelling on public transport in London has become much safer in the past 5 years.

Crime across the network, which includes buses, Underground, DLR, Overground and Tramlink, fell by 31% from March 2010 to March 2015. In the year to the end of March 28,154 crimes were recorded by the British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police. The British Transport Police has responsibility for train and tram services, the Met looks after the buses.

Nearly all the offences took place on buses, Underground or DLR. There were 17,000 crimes on buses and arond 10,000 on the Tube and DLR. Figures for Underground and DLR are combined as they are policed by the same unit of the British Transport Police.   Bus crime alone fell by 31% in the period. Offences were down by 34% on the Tube and DLR.

Transport crime

Each day 24 million journeys are made across the London public transport network. The crime rate, as expressed by crimes per million passenger journeys has fallen across all modes of transport. On the buses there are 7.7 crimes per million journeys, on the tube and DLR it is 7.1, but the Overground service has the lowest level at 4.1 crimes per million journeys.

In September the Night Tube service will be introduced providing all night trains each Friday and Saturday night on the Jubilee and Victoria lines, and most of the Piccadilly and Northern lines. With more late night revelers in the transport system it is likely that the crime figures may rise again.

Source data

More crime news

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs


Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs


London 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.

Urbs has mapped the Transport for London 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. But all the outer London boroughs have below average scores with Hillingdon and Havering at the north eastern and western points of the capital with the poorest access.

public transport accessibility map


A comparison of the map with data on where new homes are being built in the capital (here on Urbs.London) shows that the boroughs with most housing development and potentially expanding populations, such as Newham and Croydon, have near average scores for access.

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 servce.

Next time you are walking to a bus stop in anticipation of a long wait spare a thought for the people in the Kenley neighbourhood of Croydon.  They have the poorest score on the index at just 0.3.

Source data

See also

Traffic constant, profits up – a congestion charge story