London lobby groups have called for the reopening of the Waterloo and City Tube line to help increase the number of people going back to their offices.
The shuttle service – which travels between Bank and Waterloo stations – is the only Tube line still not operating, after Transport for London (TfL) restricted public transport services during the March lockdown.
TfL figures show it is the second-most intensively used Tube service, when looking at journeys per mile of each line, after the Victoria line and is a key travel route for many City of London workers.
Richard Brown, deputy director at the Centre for London think tank, said opening up the line, at a lower than usual capacity, would be “a sensible move towards something like normality”.
“It could help encourage more workers to spend some time back in central London – which is important both for productive meetings and interactions, and for the services that support London’s city centre economy – though crowding levels will need to be kept under review as summer turns to autumn,” he said.
Adam Tyndall, programme director for connectivity at lobby group London First, also supported bringing back the Tube line back.
“One of the main barriers preventing employees in returning to the office is concerns over public transport, so moves to increase service capacity would be a positive step,” he said.
“TfL has made great strides in making public transport safe, but to give commuters more confidence there needs to be a step change in communication – people need to know the best times to travel and the safety measures in place and government, transport operators and businesses must work together in that.
“Business leaders are backing the capital, with most firms already having a small number of employees back in the office.”
Firms are slowly sending people back to their offices, but the Square Mile and other business districts still remain relatively empty.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told LBC last week that central London’s empty offices were a “big problem” and that many businesses were struggling as retail footfall is far off pre-crisis levels.
TfL was contacted for comment.