Surveys show Tube passengers are the least satisfied in the country with Covid transport services

19 June 2020

An analysis of seven weeks of surveys on nationwide travel during Covid-19 shows that London Underground passengers are less satisfied than other transport users on a range of issues, although satisfaction amongst London bus passengers is high.

Over the past seven weeks Transport Focus and London TravelWatch have been surveying passengers travelling during the current pandemic about their attitudes to public transport. During this period some interesting differences between transport users in London and the rest of the country have emerged with Tube passengers less satisfied than bus or train passengers inside or outside London, on a range of issues including special arrangements in place to keep passengers safe, cleanliness and staff availability. In contrast, bus passengers in London were much more satisfied.

Key findings from the last seven weeks include:

  • London Tube (57%) and bus passengers (61%) are much less likely to be satisfied with the ability to socially distance than train passengers (75%) or bus passengers (73%) outside the capital.
  • London bus passengers (79%) were more likely to be satisfied with the ease of finding out when services were running and special arrangements in place to keep passengers safe (73%)  than bus passengers outside London (68% for both statements) and Tube passengers (71% and 56%)
  • London bus users were much more satisfied about service frequency (77%) than those outside London (54%)
  • 76% of London bus passengers were satisfied with cleanliness, just ahead of bus passengers outside London but Tube passengers were much less satisfied (68%)
  • London bus passengers (70%) were more satisfied with staff availability than bus passengers outside London (62%) but only 58% of Tube passengers were satisfied.
  • 87% of London bus passengers were satisfied with the journey time compared to 82% of bus passengers outside London and 79% of Tube and train passengers nationally

London TravelWatch Director, Emma Gibson commented: ‘These results highlight some interesting differences between London and the rest of the country. Perhaps unsurprisingly passengers in London are less happy with the ability to socially distance on public transport. But the results also highlight the need for TfL to do more to make sure Tube passengers feel safe, are able to socially distance and have help from staff when they need it. One concrete thing that TfL could do is to improve the quality of information on their website so that people know what to expect when they are returning to the tube and bus. And to improve TfL journey planner so that it tells people if the route or station they have picked will be very busy.’ 

Emma continued: ‘It is interesting to see that London bus passengers who have been travelling are pretty satisfied with services but it’s concerning that many people expect the roads to get much busier as people continue to avoid public transport and social distancing remains.’

One respondent summed up many passengers’ feelings when talking about how busy Tube services were: ‘Still quiet compared to pre-covid, definitely starting to get busier which does make me a little uneasy’. And another expressed the view that ‘roads will be much busier and journeys more stressful.’


Further information

  • London TravelWatch is the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
  • Follow London TravelWatch on Twitter and YouTube. For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 07734 055494.
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