Thursday 10 September 2020 9:00 am

One in five Londoners will not go back to pre-Covid levels of Tube usage

A little more than one in five Londoners do not believe they will use the Tube at the same frequency as they did prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey.

A newly released YouGov survey, seen exclusively by City A.M., showed that 22 per cent of Londoners expect their decreased use of the Tube during the coronavirus crisis will be a permanent change.

Read more: ‘No time for a show of virility’: Sadiq Khan on getting London moving again

Fifty-eight per cent thought it would be a temporary change, while 20 per cent did not know.

The poll, which was commissioned by the Greater London Authority’s Tory group, also found 21 per cent of respondents thought their decreased bus usage would be a permanent change.

The coronavirus lockdown crippled TfL’s passenger numbers and resulted in a 90 per cent drop in revenues.

This forced the government to hand the transport body a £1.6bn bailout, which is expected to run out in October.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told City A.M. this week that he was currently negotiating a new funding settlement for TfL with the govenrment.

Tube usage is still down 70 per cent year on year, while bus usage is down about 55 per cent, despite the easing of most restrictions.

The City Hall Tories also released a report to accompany the survey, which calls for a “Carnet Travelcard” that would allow commuters to buy a “booklet of tickets at a discount to cover a journey that you expect to take relatively frequently”.

Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince said: “Unless TfL adapts to the so-called ‘new normal’ it will become hooked on government bailouts.

Read more: TfL commissioner Andy Byford: Getting the capital moving again

“The mayor and TfL must get our city moving again by embracing flexible commuting, which many Londoners look set to continue long after the pandemic. 

“A Carnet Travelcard should offer Londoners flexibility and better value for money compared to TfL’s existing ticketing system.”

A TfL spokesperson said: “Customers are returning to public transport: Tube journeys are up 18 per cent on last week at 32 per cent of normal ridership and bus journeys are up 39 per cent on last week at 56 per cent of normal ridership. We have been running a full Tube and bus service for many weeks which is enabling the Government’s requirements on social distancing.

“Our industry-leading ‘pay as you go’ ticketing already provides immense flexibility which means the use of season tickets on the TfL network has fallen very sharply for a number of years.”