Underground fare revenue less resilient than bus revenueThe London Underground not only welcomes around 1.1 billion passengers yearly, but it also brings in an annual revenue of over 2.2 billion British pounds from ticket sales. The Tube is the service run by Transport for London with the highest revenues, with annual Tube fares bringing in almost double the amount of revenue generated by TfL bus fares.
However, bus fare revenue remained more robust during the COVID-19 pandemic only decreasing by 50 percent between 2019/20 and 2020/21, compared to London Underground fare revenues, which dropped by 76 percent. Bus fares also showed a stronger recovery. In 2022/23, revenues from the service had returned to 96 percent of pre-pandemic fare revenues, while Underground fares remained at only 81 percent of the fare revenue recorded in 2019/20.
Pandemics effects not yet left behindIn the 2022/23 financial year, Transport for London began returning to service patterns closer to pre-pandemic levels. Vehicle kilometers, which give an indication of the number of services run, rose to 77.3 million kilometers, compared to 72.6 kilometers in 2021. However, this was still well below the 82.4 million kilometers operated in 2019/20.
Longer term effects of the pandemic can also be felt elsewhere: Customer satisfaction with the service dropped from around 84 percent in the years leading up to the pandemic to between 75 and 78 percent between mid-2020 and 2023. The London Underground also ranked among the lowest scoring services operated by Transport for London in Q4 of 2022/23, alongside the London Overground and London Trams. London Underground complaint rates, on the other hand, were at their lowest level in five years in 2022/23.