Thursday 3 September 2020 8:00 am

London Tories call for Waterloo and City Tube line to reopen

A group of Conservative London MPs and London Assembly members have called for the Waterloo and City Tube line to reopen in a bid to boost the number of people returning to central London.

The line – which travels directly between Bank and Waterloo stations – was closed when the country was put into the initial coronavirus lockdown in March and is the only Tube service to not have been restored by Transport for London (TfL).

Read more: London advocacy groups call for Waterloo and City Tube line to reopen

TfL figures show Waterloo and City 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.

Central London has been damaged by slow footfall recovery, with mayor of London Sadiq Khan saying last month that “empty offices are a big problem for central London”.

Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said running the Waterloo and City line could help boost central London’s economy, and that “opening it is good for jobs, good for our economy and good for Britain”.

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Conservative Cities of London and Westminster MP Nickie Aiken added: “TfL should be working with businesses to support the return to the office and I would expect them to be running a full service across all lines.

“I understand that workers may still be concerned about returning to the office and that our approach to work has changed.

“But even returning one or two days a week will have a massive impact on the small independent cafes and shops across the constituency, who are currently struggling with no business footfall or international tourism.”

Boris Johnson this week stepped up calls for people to return to their offices in a bid to boost spending at bricks and mortar businesses.

Firms are slowly sending people back to their offices, but the Square Mile and other business districts still remain relatively empty.

Recent analysis showed just 17 per cent of people had returned to work in the UK’s 63 largest cities — unchanged from June when the lockdown started to lift.

Tory London Assembly member Keith Prince put the onus on the mayor to revive central London’s economy and said Khan “must reopen the Waterloo and City line”.

Read more: TfL may halt Crossrail 2 work over government funding review

“As part of the TfL bailout, the mayor promised to return to a full TfL service in June, but this vital line and 11 Tube stations remain closed,” he said.

Brian Woodhead, director of customer service at London Underground, said Waterloo and City Tube drivers are being used currently on the Central line.

“We are currently operating a near normal Tube service as customers continue to return to the network, with all but two of the Tube stations that had been closed during lockdown now open again,” he said.

“We are continuing to closely monitor customer demand which will inform our decision about when to re-open the Waterloo and City line.”