blog | 08.04.2020 | David McArthur

Glasgow’s Subway during the lockdown

The Glasgow Subway, operated by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, is the third oldest underground railway in the world. According to the Department for Transport, the system has over 13 million trips per year.

During the current lockdown, the subway has continued to operate in order to facilitate essential travel. Strathclyde Partnership for Transport kindly provided aggregate data on the number of people tapping into the system. Below, we can see the relative volume of travel. Volumes are presented relative to the average for that weekday in February.

Chart showing decrease in relative gate entrances on the Glasgow Subway between February and April 2020

The chart shows the date when the UK government asked people to work from home if possible, and then the date of the lockdown. Note that traffic had already began to decline prior to the request to work from home. One of the important routes on the network is between the city centre and the University of Glasgow in the city’s West End. The university had already started encouraging people to work from home, prior to the UK government’s request. That may help explain some of the drop.

By the time the lockdown was implemented, travel was already well below its usual level. After the lockdown, it dropped again and remained at a low level for the rest of March. It will be important to monitor activity in the coming weeks to ensure compliance with lockdown restrictions. It will also help with monitoring the situation when restrictions eventually start to be lifted.

David McArthur

Dr David McArthur is the Associate Director for Training and Capacity Building at UBDC and is a Senior Lecturer in Transport Studies at the University of Glasgow.