Hurrah, it's that time of year again when TfL silently updates its spreadsheet of annual passenger entry/exit totals at every tube station.
As usual passenger numbers are surveyed for a typical week in autumn then multiplied up to a full year. Autumn 2020 coincided with lockdown so the resultant figures were both low and entirely atypical. These figures are for autumn 2021 when travel had opened up again but ridership still hadn't recovered. Passengers numbers on the tube were only about 25% of what they were during 'normality' in 2019, so the new data is again quite unrepresentative. However Anorak Corner is all about putting stations in order and I'm pleased to say that overall rankings for 2021 are quite similar to 2019, suggesting an underlying semblance of reality.
London's ten busiest tube stations (2021)(with changes since 2019) 1) King's Cross St Pancras (23.5m) 2) Victoria (20.8m) 3) ↑1 Oxford Circus (20.4m) 4) ↑1 London Bridge (19.1m) 5) ↓2 Waterloo (18.5m) 6) ↑1 Stratford (18.4m) 7) ↓1 Liverpool Street (16.2m) 8) ↑1 Paddington (12.9m) 9) ↑7 Leicester Square (11.0m) 10) Canary Wharf (10.7m)
After the blip of 2020 when Stratford topped the list, this is very much back to normal. King's Cross returns to the top spot where it was before the pandemic, Oxford Circus is the busiest tube-only station and three other rail termini complete the rest of the Top 5. Stratford is still the busiest tube station outside zone 1 (and that's just counting the Central and Jubilee lines, not the DLR, Overground or various rail services). Leicester Square is the only new entry in the Top 10 - it's never been this high before.
The next 10: Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Bank/Monument, Bond Street, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, Finsbury Park, Vauxhall, Brixton, North Greenwich
London's ten busiest tube stations outside Zone 2 (2021) 1) Barking (5.6m) 2) ↑3 Wembley Park (5.0m) 3) ↓1 Walthamstow Central (4.8m) 4) ↓1 Seven Sisters (4.5m) 5) ↑4 Tottenham Hale (4.4m) 6) ↑4 Wimbledon (4.2m) 7) Ealing Broadway (4.2m) 8) ↓2 Tooting Broadway (4.2m) 9) ↓5 East Ham (3.6m) 10) ↑1 Wood Green (3.4m)
Out in the suburbs it's generally tube stations with rail connections that do particularly well. Wembley Park is the highest placed exception, leapfrogging into second place past a few of the more usual contenders. Northeast London has a particularly strong showing. If the list were to continue then Harrow-on-the-Hill (3m) would be the highest performing station in Zone 5 and Uxbridge (2m) the busiest in Zone 6.
London's ten busiest tube stations that are only on one line
Canary Wharf, Vauxhall, Brixton, North Greenwich, Camden Town, Old Street, Covent Garden, Walthamstow Central, Shepherd's Bush, Knightsbridge
Tube stations that retained over 30% of their usual passengers in 2021
Kew Gardens, West Ham, Buckhurst Hill, Wimbledon, Clapham North, Wembley Park, Leicester Square, West Brompton, Mill Hill East, Tottenham Hale, Gloucester Road, Canning Town, Chorleywood, Blackhorse Road, Barking
Tube stations that retained less than 20% of their usual passengers in 2021
St James's Park, Bank/Monument, Chancery Lane, Cannon Street, Mansion House, Richmond, Goodge Street, Farringdon, Russell Square, Blackfriars, Barbican, Moorgate, Regent's Park, East Acton, Great Portland Street, St Paul's, Roding Valley
This is still my favourite list of the year...
London's 10 least busy tube stations (2021) 1) Kensington (Olympia) (28000) 2) Roding Valley (88000) 3) Chigwell (109000) 4) Grange Hill (132000) 5) North Ealing (213000) 6) Theydon Bois (257000) 7) Moor Park (262000) 8) ↑1 Upminster Bridge (278500) 9) ↑2 Croxley (279000) 10) ↓2 Ruislip Gardens (284000)
Discounting Heathrow T4, the least used station on the Underground remains poor old Kensington (Olympia), because that's what weekend-only trains (and a tiny handful of weekday-ers) does for you. It has a pitiful total... less than a third of the passengers at the second least used station, which continues to be Roding Valley. The Essex end of the Central line has a very strong showing including all three stops on the Hainault shuttle, as per usual. Passenger numbers may have tumbled here, as everywhere else, but a lesser used station will always be a lesser used station.
The next ten least busy stations: Ickenham, Chesham, Fairlop, West Harrow, Barkingside, South Kenton, West Finchley, West Acton, West Ruislip, Chalfont & Latimer
The least busy tube station in each zone (2021) zone 1) Regent's Park (743000) zone 2) Kensington (Olympia) (28000) zone 3) North Ealing (213000) zone 4) Roding Valley (88000) zone 5) Ruislip Gardens (284000) zone 6) Theydon Bois (257000) zone 7) Moor Park (262000) zone 8) Chalfont & Latimer (430000) zone 9) Chesham (297000)
And while we're here...
DLR Top 5: Canning Town (8m), Bank, Stratford, Woolwich Arsenal, Canary Wharf DLR Bottom 5: Beckton Park (171000), Pudding Mill Lane, Abbey Road, Poplar, Royal Albert
Overground Top 5: Canada Water (7m), Highbury & Islington, Stratford, Clapham Junction, Whitechapel Overground Bottom 5: Emerson Park (104000), South Kenton, Upminster, North Wembley, Cheshunt
TfL Rail Top 5: Stratford (8m), Liverpool Street, Paddington, Romford, Ilford TfL Rail Bottom 5: Iver (107000), Taplow, Acton Main Line, Heathrow Terminal 5, Langley
Trams Top 5: East Croydon (3m), Wimbledon, West Croydon, George Street, Church Street Trams Bottom 5: Avenue Road (46000), Coombe Lane, Birkbeck, Beddington Lane, Harrington Road
Next year should see the figures properly back to normal, whatever the new normal turns out to be, and will also include data for the Crossrail stations that opened last week. The battle to be London's busiest purple station is already underway.