The Elizabeth line recorded its busiest day yet last month, when it saw 738,000 journeys made in a single day. The busiest day was Thursday 28th September 2023, which also took that week to the busiest yet, with 4.5 million passenger journeys made.
Although the average number of journeys per day is around 600,000 that’s based on a weekly average spread out over 7 days, whereas there’s a bulge in the middle of the week with more people working from home on Monday and Fridays — so the average on Tues/Wed/Thur is already around 700,000 passenger journeys each day.
Provisional data from earlier this year had estimated that around 40% of the central section of the Elizabeth line passenger kilometres come from people who transferred from the London Underground after through-running services were introduced in November 2022, thus reducing overcrowding on the tube.
However, the Elizabeth line has struggled at times with reliability, particularly along the Network Rail section to the west of London, so the Public Performance Measure (PPM) score has dipped somewhat recently but is now recovering.
Much of the problems on the western leg were put down to a significant Network Rail signalling outage in late July. The effect of signalling problems on passenger numbers shows up in the latest London DataStore numbers, which showed passenger numbers declined from 16.7 million the month before the problems to 15.4 million during the disruptions.
There have also been problems with train reliability being below target. Two more reliability-focused software upgrades and a hardware modification are expected to reduce problems and speed up recovery when a problem occurs.
TfL is now setting up a 6-monthly meeting bringing together high-level representatives from a range of organisations, including Network Rail, the DfT, HS2 and train operators to manage the integration of the Elizabeth line into other projects. This will become particularly important in a few years time when HS2 is expected to terminate at Old Oak Common, sending thousands of passengers onto the Elizabeth line to complete their journey into London.