The Busiest Stations of the London Underground

The clock in Waterloo Station - London's busiest.
The clock in Waterloo Station - London's busiest.

The London Underground, colloquially also referred to as the "tube," is part of the public transit system which serves the city of London, UK, and its adjoining areas. It is significant as the world’s first underground railway. There are various stations which are especially busy throughout the year and we will have a look at a few major reasons for their popularity.

Busiest Stations Of The London Underground

Major Junctions and Connecting Lines

Any station which is a connecting or crossover station for two or more lines is bound to be busy. A majority of stations in the table are busy simply because they allow passengers to connect to a different line and provide a junction between other services such as tram or inter-city railways. An obvious example is Waterloo station which also happens to be the busiest London Underground station with an annual ridership of 95 million. Waterloo connects four different lines of the underground and also serves as the National Railways terminal. It is served by at least 20 different bus routes which easily helps it rank atop this list. The second busiest station, King’s Cross St. Pancras tube station which is a connecting station for 6 underground lines has a ridership of 93 million.

Sightseeing/Tourist Attractions

This is another obvious reason because Oxford Circus, London Bridge, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus are some of the world-renowned sightseeing and shopping destinations of London. The stations in this category are often always busier in the peak or business hours and the number of passengers dwindles during later or off-peak hours. A few stations are located in close proximity of major museums and tourist attractions like galleries and theaters which also attract a substantial crowd.

Educational Institutions

The schools, colleges, and universities attract a very specific demographic of passengers namely the students who are in transit on a daily basis. If an underground happens to be in the vicinity of a few educational institutions then the station experience a large volume of passengers albeit only during peak times only.

Business District

Most of the stations located in Central London are the busiest as this happens to be the economic hub of not only the city but also the country by extension. The business district does not only refer to the corporate business districts which attract the majority of such passengers. They can also refer to small business areas like fresh markets. A notable example in this category is the Stratford underground station which has an annual ridership of 61 million passengers.

History And Architecture

Some stations are of historical importance like the Liverpool Station whose architecture is not the only thing working in its favor. This station also survived the two world wars and was later restored to its former glory.

Backbone Of London's Public Transit System

Despite its name, only about 45% of the London Underground system is comprised of underground tunnels. Spanning over 400 km of track, the system is the backbone of London’s public transit serving 1.34 billion riders in 2015-16 and will continue to serve more and more passengers in the years to come.

The Busiest Stations of the London Underground

RankStation Name2015 Ridership (Millions)
2King's Cross St. Pancras93
3Oxford Circus92
5Liverpool Street73
6London Bridge72
8Bank & Monument58
9Canary Wharf54
11Leicester Square44
12Piccadilly Circus43
15Green Park42

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