Six months on from the opening of the Elizabeth line, business groups and small businesses in and around the new stations are hailing its transformative effect.
Nearly 70 million journeys have been made on the new railway line since its official launch in May, with half of these made in the central section between Paddington and Woolwich.
Faster connections mean it’s easier and more affordable than ever for Londoners and visitors to make the most of what the capital’s businesses have to offer at a pivotal time as they recover from the pandemic. Businesses and local representatives came together today at the historic Royal Academy to celebrate the considerable boost to London that the line has provided in the six months since being opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The latest ridership data shows that the Elizabeth line has been used nearly 70m times since opening, with around 600,000 journeys made daily. The most popular journeys involve Tottenham Court Road station, with Stratford, Paddington, and Canary Wharf the most popular destinations, with people leaving the west end. As a result of that popularity, the use of Tottenham Court Road has increased by more than 80 percent since the Elizabeth line was launched. Use of nearby Bond Street station has increased by more than 25 percent since the Elizabeth line station opened in October.
In a further boost to businesses, as of earlier this month, direct Elizabeth line services now run from Reading, Heathrow, and Shenfield into and out of central London. This means customers can travel east to Abbey Wood without needing to change at Paddington mainline station and can travel west from Shenfield without changing at Liverpool Street mainline station, making journeys quicker and easier. Trains now run every three to four minutes between Paddington and Whitechapel.
Customers can also now use the Elizabeth line seven days a week following the start of regular Sunday services through central London. This is all the more important for businesses during the festive period, which is the busiest time for many retailers.
The final Elizabeth line station, Bond Street, opened a month ago, adding more capacity to the West End and supporting the area’s growth.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Delivering the transformational Elizabeth line has provided a massive boost to London’s businesses this year, crucial after the pandemic. This is helping us to continue building a better London for everyone – a city that is fairer, greener, and more prosperous for all.
“Since it opened six months ago, millions have already travelled on the Elizabeth line, and it’s already brought a huge range of benefits – encouraging people back onto public transport, helping them to make the most of the capital, and supporting businesses right across our city. The benefits of the Elizabeth line expand far beyond London, as it’s helping to contribute £42bn to the UK economy and support businesses right across the country.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “In just six short months, we’ve seen more than 60 million journeys along the Elizabeth line, driving growth not only within London but across the wider region. This incredible project, which Government invested over £9 billion into, has already created over 55,000 jobs and is expected to generate £42 billion for the entire UK economy, is a shining example of what we can do when working together.”
Andy Lord, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “I am extremely proud that the Elizabeth line has not only become part and parcel of travelling in London and the South East over the past six months but that it is also showing how sustainable and affordable transport can drive the city’s economic growth and recovery. We look forward to welcoming many more customers onboard as they experience and enjoy the very best of what the capital has to offer as the festive season begins.”
Dee Corsi, chief executive at New West End Company, said: “We are six months on from the opening of the Elizabeth line, and London’s West End is already reaping the benefits. Offering speedy gateways via Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, the high-speed line has not only improved the commuter experience for domestic and overseas visitors looking to make the most of London’s West End but has also significantly boosted our recovery in the lead-up to the festive season, with £1.55 billion set to be spent across West End businesses. Looking further ahead, the long-term impact of the line cannot be downplayed, with our latest research showing that the increased visitor numbers will influence over £700 million a year in additional sales, driving a significant part of our turnover growth.”
All 41 Elizabeth line stations are step-free from street to platform from Paddington to Woolwich, and Heathrow is step-free from street to train, bringing more accessible journeys to even more people.
In May 2023, the full peak timetable will be in place. At this point, the peak time frequency will increase to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel, with 16 trains per hour off-peak. Direct services from Shenfield to Heathrow Airport will also commence, boosting connections into central London and creating more business opportunities near the stations.
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