Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

More Commuters Ditching Cars for Public Transport; Bus Journeys Up a Third and Tube Trips near One Billion, New Figures Show

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

More Commuters Ditching Cars for Public Transport; Bus Journeys Up a Third and Tube Trips near One Billion, New Figures Show

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WILLIAMS

THE changing face of transport in London is revealed today.

Department for Transport and Transport for London figures show a radical shift in travel patterns in the capital in the past decade.

The Government statistics, which are to be expected to be released officially this week, identify key trends, including: . A big decrease in the number of people driving to work in central London.

. A two-thirds rise in bus use.

. Tube journeys heading towards one billion a year.

. Cycle use doubling, but no increase in the level of walking.

The figures, which are likely to be central to planning future transport provision for London, will also show the average commute takes 40 minutes.

The number of car drivers travelling in during the week is about 84,000, a fall of 40 per cent on 1993 when 150,000 made the journey. Only about 12 per of people who work in the very centre of the city now drive into work.

Some of the biggest falls occurred two years before the congestion charge was introduced in 2003.

TfL's statistics show a decline in allvehicle use but that is not as dramatic as the decrease for cars only recorded by the DfT.

The total number of vehicles entering the congestion charge zone has dropped from about 392,000 before the toll was introduced to about 320,000 now, a fall of 15 per cent. Of those drivers, about 100,000 pay the congestion charge each day while the rest are exempt. According to TfL this is because of better public transport links and more commuters turning to two wheels.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "[The number of] cars coming into central London has dropped steadily since the early Nineties as other public transport modes have improved.

"Congestion charging has speeded up that trend."

Bus use in the capital has also risen consistently.

According to TfL, the number of individual bus journeys in 2003/4 was 1,702 million and in 2004/5 this increased by 91 million to 1,793 million. The DfT figures show that 63,000 people travelled to work by bus each day in 1995, compared with 104,000 in 2003.

Tube journeys have shown a similar trend. TfL says the number of journeys made in 2003/4 was 948 million and this rocketed to 976 million in 2004/5.

Meanwhile, DLR journeys went up from 48.5 million in 2003/4 to 50.1 million in 2004/05.

Cycle journeys have shot up by 100 per cent since 2000, when there were 59,000 a week, compared with 119,000 this year.

The DfT figures will show that the total number of people travelling into London on a weekday is down from a peak of 1.1 million in 2000 to just over one million now.

Sources at TfL expect them to also show that the proportion of people coming into central London by public transport is now 90 per cent, compared to 85 per cent a year ago, but that commuters from outer London continue to depend on the car to get to work. …

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