The bargain hunters joined forces with commuters and sightseers to make a whopping 4.725 million Tube journeys on Black Friday – smashing the previous record of 4.576m journeys which was only set on November 14.
All in all it’s not been a bad couple of months for the capital’s transport network – Transport for London (TfL) recorded a best-ever combined total of 76.1m Tube and bus passenger journeys during the week of September 22.
And if you’re feeling a little crushed in the carriage you may not be keen to know that those numbers are set to keep on rising. London’s population already stands at 8.4m and it’s expected to surge to around 10m by 2030 – that’s an extra Tube-train full of people every three days.
TfL reckon they’re on top of the situation with a massive investment programme to help its infrastructure keep pace with the ever-increasing demand for its services.
Staff threatened strike action earlier in the year over ticket office closures, but that’s calmed down a little now. TfL says bringing staff out from underused ticket offices next year to face customers in ticket halls, at gate lines and on platforms will help it cope with numbers.
London Underground aims to introduce 191 spacious new air-conditioned trains by the end of 2016, and work is under way to increase capacity at several stations. And next September will see the introduction of the ‘Night Tube’ – all-night 24-hour Tube services on Friday and Saturday nights on popular routes. Bosses say the new service will cut journey times, create 2000 jobs and boost London’s economy by £360m.
And there’s more, with big improvements looming on the buses. TfL and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today announced plans for an extra 500 buses in the capital. The bus network already provides 2.4bn passenger journeys a year, and the new buses would add another 2.9m journeys a week. In addition, around £200m is to be spent on bus priority scheme – such as bus lanes – and a further £25m on driver training.