London's roaring summer of blockbuster events is helping Transport for London's ridership figures start to exceed pre-pandemic levels on some weekends as overall ridership bounces back.

Latest figures show that stations in central London are hitting pre-pandemic levels at weekends, if not exceeding them, with international events and London's cultural gems helping to drive a huge return of visitors to London. Weekday ridership levels on the Tube and bus are now regularly reaching at least 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.[1] London Overground journeys are surging back to around pre-pandemic levels,[2] while bus demand is also seeing a strong recovery.

London is enjoying a successful summer with more than one million people attending live music events across a week in July, and cinemas enjoying the busiest weekend for ticket sales in four years with people travelling to see the much-anticipated premieres of Barbie and Oppenheimer[3]. It is also expecting to welcome two million more international arrivals this year compared to last year, bringing an additional £674m.[4]

Recent ridership stats show:

Tube figures on Saturdays have surpassed 2019 levels on several occasions including 29 April (104 per cent), 27 May (103 per cent) and 17 June (104 per cent)[5]

Harry Styles's concert on 17 June saw Wembley Park Underground station have its highest ever number of Saturday entries and exits, with almost 134,000 entries and exit

Blur's concert on 8 July at Wembley saw the station have 120,000 entries and exits, compared to around 50,000 on a typical Saturday without an event.

The London Pride parade on 1 July saw 6.9 million entries and exits on the Tube network- the busiest Saturday on the network since December 2019.  That same weekend, the Northern line saw the highest figures for any line on the Night Tube since the New Year, with 86,000 entries and exits between 00:30 and 04:30 at the stations it serves. 

The first week of the Wimbledon Championships helped Southfields station see over 50,000 entries and exits, almost three times its usual number, for three days running during the first week of the tournament.

Battersea Power station saw its busiest day of the year on 5 July as the nearby power station's iconic chimneys were lit up in blue to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the NHS, with nearly 35,000 entries and exits at the station. It comes as the station hits 10m entries and exits since the opening of the Northern line extension in September 2021.

These figures are set against a backdrop of between three to four million Tube journeys every day across the TfL network (around 85 per cent of levels seen before the pandemic) and around five million bus journeys on weekdays (around 80-85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels).[6] The Elizabeth line also continues to exceed predicted ridership levels, with more than 600,000 journeys on weekdays, and around 200m journeys since the line's opening in May 2022.

This comes as TfL launches a new campaign highlighting the value and benefits public transport offers people with all travel needs and budgets, helping Londoners make the most of the exciting range of events in the city this summer. Through digital content, radio and posters, the campaign promotes the benefits of using public transport in the capital. The campaign also highlights features including daily capping, off-peak times and the bus and tram Hopper fare, that continue to make public transport a great value option for Londoners and international visitors, as an extra two million tourists are expected in the city this year.[1]

This follows the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan's, Let's Do London campaign - the biggest domestic and international tourism campaign the capital has ever seen - to encourage Londoners and visitors back to our city - bringing in an extra £346m and 850,000 more overnight visitors to the city.[7]

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "London is roaring back this summer, with millions of tourists from around the globe and visitors from nearer afield joining Londoners using public transport to enjoy our incredible events and go to our world-renowned theatres, venues, galleries and museums. There is so much still to look forward to with a wide array of festivals, events, exhibitions and performances showing why London is the greatest city in the world. It will truly be a summer to remember, as we continue to build an even better and more prosperous city for everyone."

London's Transport Commissioner, Andy Lord, said: "London is once again bursting at the seams with things to do, and it is wonderful to see the city return to the same vibrancy it had before the pandemic. Public transport continues to be a vital part of London's economic recovery, and just as there are events and festivals to suit all interests, there's also a public transport option to suit your needs, whether it's speed, cost or convenience that's important to you. Our partnerships with top attractions across the city are also a great way to see and experience something new for less."

Laura Citron, CEO of Visit London, said: "There are so many reasons to get out and enjoy summer in London this year. We've got the perennial favourites like Notting Hill Carnival and All Points East alongside brand-new attractions like the BBC Earth Experience and ABBA Voyage. The Elizabeth line is carrying millions of visitors from Heathrow airport to the city centre quickly and affordably. And closer to home, there are brilliant festivals, parks and attractions to visit by bus. People travel from all over the world to experience what London has to offer - and Londoners can make the most of it by public transport."

Sanjay Patel, Managing Director of The Hundred, said: "We're absolutely delighted to have a number of fixtures at Lord's and The Kia Oval throughout August and we want as many people as possible to come and be a part of The Hundred. Both venues are very well situated for public transport and there's nothing like the walk from the Tube station to the ground to really whet the appetite for the atmosphere, the noise and the colour of the games ahead. We've sold a lot of tickets across London and we're excited to welcome fans back into both venues in the capital."  

Christopher Joell-Deshields, CEO at Pride in London said: "Pride in London saw well over 1.5 million attendees in July, with people flocking to central London, to celebrate, protest and march together under the theme of Never March Alone: championing trans allyship."

Following an action-packed start to the summer season, August and September is seeing the return of several distinguished festivals and events in London, including the Hundred cricket at Lord's and The Kia Oval, UK Black Pride, Greenwich & Docklands Festival, Notting Hill Carnival on the August Bank Holiday weekend and BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, all of which are well-served by public transport. TfL customers can also take advantage of offers in partnership with the London Wetland Centre, National Trust, Science Museum and Kew Gardens. Visitors who use public transport to reach these attractions are eligible for offers including 30 per cent off ticket prices and 2-for-1 deals. 

The National Portrait Gallery and Young V&A opened in June following extensive refurbishments, while the Natural History Museum hosts the colossal Titanosaur, one of the largest known creatures to have ever walked the planet, the Tower of London hosts the Coronation Bench Trail, and the Tate Modern has an exhibition of dynamic landscape of photography of the African continent. During Kids Week, running until the end of the month,  a child 17 and under goes free when accompanied by an adult paying full price to select theatre performances.

The City of London and Canary Wharf have plenty going on in the coming weeks. City of London's new website details events such as Morph's Epic Art Adventure, a free public art trail starring the famous Plasticine character Morph, that runs until 20 August and is hosted by charity Whizz-Kidz. Canary Wharf Group's similar website lists events in the area, including AFK Beach Volleyball, which will run for most of September in partnership with charity Action for Kids.

For those who won't make it to the seaside this year, there are sandy spots across the capital that open until September including Neverland Fulham Beach Club,The Beach Brent Cross and JW3 Beach in Hampstead.  

The capital's transport network also provides plenty of inspiration. The IFS Cloud Cable Car provides awe-inspiring views of the Isle of Dogs, London Docklands and beyond, while a range of river tours is available from several operators. London Transport Museum's current exhibition 'Charing Cross: Access All Areas' goes behind closed doors to exclusive areas not accessible to the public. An exciting and varied programme of events for children continues to run at the museum, including events aimed at families with Special Educational Needs (SEN).

London's array of events and attractions is not just confined to its centre, with plenty going on in the city's outer boroughs. Croydon is the London Borough of Culture 2023, hosting events including the Liberty Festival in September, celebrating the work of deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists, and Croydon Stands Tall, a 10-week free art trail starting on 21 August celebrating the vibrancy, culture and creativity in the borough.

Events in other outer London boroughs include Ghana Party in the Park 2023 on 12 August in Barnet, and Lewis Capaldi at PRYZM Kingston on 14 August in Kingston upon Thames.

TfL's free app, TfL Go, helps customers plan their journey with real-time information, including quieter times to travel. Customers can use step-free mode for planning accessible journeys, in addition to information on toilet locations, platform access and live lift status.

[1] Figures from GLA datastore: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/public-transport-journeys-type-transport

[2] Based on TfL London Overground passenger journeys in Q1 23/24 (43 million journeys) in comparison to  TfL London Overground passenger journeys in Q1 19/20 (42 million journeys - tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/quarterly-progress-reports

[3] Mayor's Press Release - London' s best weekend cinema capital helps drive record breaking weekend

[4] Mayor's Press Release - London set for bumper summer as new stats reveal visitors flocking back to capital's world renowned attractions

[5] 29 April 2023 saw 6.2m entries and exits in comparison with 5.9m baseline (Saturday 4 May 2019) - a four per cent increase

27 May 2023 saw 6m entries and exits in comparison with 5.8m baseline (Saturday 25 May 2019) - a three per cent increase

17 June 2023 saw 6.4m entries and exits in comparison with 6.1m baseline (Saturday 15 June 2019) - a four per cent increase

[6] Figures from GLA datastore: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/public-transport-journeys-type-transport

[7] Mayor's Press Release - London set for bumper summer as new stats reveal visitors flocking back to capital's world renowned attractions

Notes to editors

For more information on TfL deals visit: Londonblog.tfl.gov.uk/2022/07/27/in-the-city/?cid=deals 

The Mayor's Hopper fare allows multiple journeys on buses and trams within the hour for the price of a single fare 

The Older Persons Freedom Pass offers free travel on bus, tram, Tube, DLR, London Overground and Elizabeth line for those over the age of 60, while the Zip Oyster photocard allows children under 11 to travel free.  

The English National Concessionary Pass is valid on buses both within and outside London after 09:00 from Monday to Friday, and at all times on Saturdays and Sundays. Holders must show their pass to the driver rather than tap in on the reader 

Off-peak fares apply to TfL rail services between 09:30 and 16:00 and after 19:00 on weekdays, and during weekends and bank holidays. However, if people travel into Zone 1 after 09:30, they will always be charged an off-peak fare, even during the afternoon and evening peak

Explore the London Wetland Centre with 30 per cent off adult, junior and family entry prices when using TfL services until 23rd September 2023

Two-for-one offers at two National Trust places from 24 July to 1 July 2024 (excluding 26-28 August)

TfL's offer with the Science Museum, Science Fiction offer ends on 20 August whilst the Wonderlab offer ends on 20 October 

The 30 per cent off Kew Gardens offer is valid until 31 August (excluding 26 - 28 August). Use code KEWTFL30 for online bookings.

The two-for-one TfL offer with two Historic Royal Palaces' sites (The Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace) ends on 24 December and is not valid during summer holidays and October half term

Simply download TfL's free TfL Oyster and Contactless app to show proof of your same-day journey to these destinations by public transport to redeem the offers

TfL's free TfL Oyster and Contactless app was launched in July 2017 and allows customers to top-up their Oyster card, as well as enable Oyster and Contactless customers to view their journey and payment history and see if they have any 'incomplete' journeys

The Champion Value marketing campaign has been created by Transport for London (TfL) in partnership with Wavemaker UK, VCCP London, filmmaker Christian Bevilacqua and photographer Hanina Pinnick. The campaign spans multiple channels including online film, digital content, posters and radio. The film and radio executions use iconic sounds from across the network, such as bus and tram bells, card readers, acceleration of the Tube and the 'Mind The Gap' announcement. The radio SFX soundscape punctuate the messaging with the sounds Londoners associate with travel and hear daily  and were recorded on the TfL network for authenticity. The campaign uses digital out of home channels to target specific price messages to the exact zones, times of day and days of the week, ensuring the campaign is relevant to a wide range of Londoners for both price and mode of transport. The campaign will run until at least the end of 2023.