Transport for London’s (TfL) Commissioner has said that crucial commuter artery the Waterloo & City line could fully reopen by the end of the year.
“The fact that the City is now getting busier means we are actively looking at when we can increase to full service on the Waterloo & City line so I think it will be very, very soon”, he told City A.M..
When pressed as to whether it would be this year, he said: “Potentially”.
When the pandemic struck last spring “the Drain”, as the line is known, was shut in order to keep staff free to operate the Central line.
After 15 months of closure, it was reopened with a partial service on 8 June, two weeks ahead of plan.
At the moment, services are running every five minutes Monday to Friday from 6am to 10am and 3.30pm to 7pm.
The decision on when to restart a full service will depend on levels of passenger demand, City A.M. understands.
Since the end of the summer holidays the number of commuters travelling into the Square Mile has increased significantly, TfL data shows.
Last Thursday saw 391,000 taps made at City stations, the highest number since the pandemic began.
However, passenger numbers are still just over a third of what they were before the pandemic, when there were nearly 1m taps every day.
Policy chair at the City of London Corporation, Catherine McGuinness, said:
“In recent weeks the Square Mile has been buzzing again with shops, bars and restaurants welcoming back many customers again and with offices coming to life.
“We warmly welcomed the reopening of the Waterloo & City line in June as a significant step on our collective journey back to normality. A return to a full timetable for the line soon would reflect growing momentum behind the return of City workers and help to support a sustainable recovery.
“The line is vital for many of the City’s commuting workforce and, in turn, for the many Square Mile businesses that rely on commuter traffic for trade.”