Love it or loathe it, the London Underground is a pretty impressive achievement. 270 stations, 11 separate lines, and 402km of track are just some of the numbers one can associate with the world’s oldest metro system. But just how many people use the Tube? In 2013 (data from last year has yet to be released) over 2.7billion entries and exits were made to Tube, or roughly 1.26billion individual journeys. Amazingly this huge number didn’t even put the London Underground in the world’s ten busiest metro systems.
Of London’s 270 Underground stations, Waterloo was the busiest, processing nearly 90million passengers in 2013, almost five million more than its nearest rival, Oxford Circus. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the busiest Tube stations are attached to railway stations, and of London’s major stations, only Charing Cross and Euston do not feature in the ten busiest tube stops. Once again unsurprisingly, a majority of the busiest stations are in Zone 1, but there are two exceptions; Canary Wharf is in Zone 2, and Stratford is in Zone 3.
Whilst Waterloo is the busiest Tube station, the slightly less auspicious honour of being the quietest goes to Roding Valley in the Epping Forest. The stop is nestled away on a branch of the Central Line all the way out in Zone 4. Despite being the London Underground’s most peaceful spot, Roding Valley still sees nearly a quarter of a million people come and go every year. Not bad – even if it is less than Waterloo gets in a day! Of the Tube’s quietest stations, all but North Ealing – which is on the Piccadilly line – are on either the Metropolitan or Central lines. Chesham, the fourth quietest station in the network, also has the honour, along with Amersham, of being one of only two stations in fare zone 9!
London’s 2.7billion tube entries and exits are spread over 11 lines, with the Central line coming out as the busiest by sheer number of journeys – 260,916 in 2012. This probably won’t surprise you if you’ve ever ridden from Holborn to Bond Street at rush hour! Journeys on the Central line equate for over 15% of all trips taken on the Underground. At the other end of the scale is the Waterloo & City line, which as its name suggests goes from Waterloo to the City (Bank to be exact). Thanks to only having two stops and not running at weekends, the line saw just 15,892 passengers in 2012. To be honest I’m not surprised. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s been on it. If you have, do let us know!
So there you have it, the London Underground in four graphs. If you think its big, have a look at statistics for the Beijing Metro, which processes nearly THREE times as many journeys as our fair railroad!