London Underground’s Waterloo & City line to return to full weekday service following pandemic reductions
Following closure due to the pandemic and then operating a limited service from June 2021, TfL has announced that the Waterloo & City tube line will now return to a full weekday service.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the London Underground’s Waterloo & City line will return to providing a full weekday service from 22 November 2021 as London continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The line, which connects Waterloo and Bank stations, is an important commuter link for thousands who come into London to work in the city each day.
The Waterloo & City line shut in March 2020 in response to the UK government’s advice for people to work from home. As a link predominately used by commuters, demand for the line plummeted. In June 2021, TfL reintroduced peak time only weekday services on the line, in order to support those gradually returning to the office.
From 22 November 2021, the Waterloo & City line will operate a full service from 06:00 in the morning to 00:30 at night. At peak times, between 06:30 and 09:30 and between 16:00 and 19:00, it will run every three minutes; at off-peak times, it will run every five minutes. This will enable customers to stagger their journeys throughout the day and will make flexible working easier by improving travel options to and from the city outside of peak hours. The reintroduction of the full weekday service will also be helpful for anyone travelling into the centre of London to sample the city’s unique retail, hospitality and culture.
London Underground staff have worked hard to ensure that the Waterloo & City line could return to full service as soon as possible. TfL has been unable to reintroduce a full service earlier as Waterloo & City line drivers have been required to operate Central line services, where demand has been higher. Using these drivers on the Central line has ensured that TfL could run as many services as possible during the pandemic to enable social distancing.
Saturday services on the Waterloo & City line will not be reintroduced for the foreseeable future, but TfL will continue to monitor demand across the network and make service adjustments to meet growing demand. Pre-pandemic demand for the Saturday service on the line was low, at around one sixth of demand on an average weekday.
Ridership on the Tube is now regularly hitting at least 60 per cent on weekdays compared to before the pandemic. TfL has seen more than double the number of customers using the Waterloo & City line since it opened again in June 2021 and expects this to increase as workers return to offices and more people visit the city for leisure.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As Londoners and visitors return to the capital, whether that be for work or to enjoy London’s world-class culture and hospitality venues, it’s important that they can travel easily and safely around the city. The Waterloo & City line provides another great transport option and a vital link to the city, and the return of a full weekday service is a big boost for the capital’s economy as we continue to recover from the pandemic.”
Across London, a near-normal service continues across the public transport network, and customers can plan their journeys and check for the latest service information through TfL travel tools, including the free TfL Go app. The app can be used to access real-time information on how busy London Underground stations are throughout the day. With ridership increasing, the quieter times to travel on public transport are changing. Customers can check how busy any station on the TfL network is at any time of day on TfL’s website or by using the TfL Go app. Customers are encouraged travel at quieter times for more space.
Andy Lord, Managing Director of London Underground, said: “The return of the Waterloo & City line to a full weekday service is yet another important step towards the recovery of London’s economy. The line is a vital link into the city and, as people continue to return to offices and travel into the heart of London to enjoy the city’s vibrant culture, retail and hospitality, this will provide even more options for customers to travel when and where they want. The Tube has played an important role during the pandemic, and I am proud of the excellent work happening behind the scenes to allow customers to travel with confidence on clean, safe, frequent and reliable services.”
TfL’s enhanced cleaning regime continues to make the network cleaner than ever, with more than 1,100 hand sanitisers installed across the network and at least 200 UV light devices continually sanitising escalator handrails. Trains, trams, buses and stations are cleaned with hospital-grade cleaning substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact and provide ongoing protection. Independent testing by Imperial College London has been carried out monthly since September 2021 – taking swabs of touch points in stations, buses and air samples in ticket halls – and has found no traces of coronavirus on the public transport network.
Customers are also reminded that anyone age 11 years and over needs to wear a face covering on TfL services and stations under TfL’s condition of carriage, unless they are exempt. Across the network, there are more than 500 uniformed officers undertaking compliance activity across London. Non-exempt customers who fail to comply may be refused travel.