Unpacking the Tube

In news that will confound those who commute on the Central Line, passenger volumes on the Underground have dropped for the first time in 20 years, (2018/19 revenue expectations are down by 15%). Some have been quick to blame Brexit. That feels wrong. Although net migration is down, it is still significantly positive. The far simpler explanation surely lies in looking around your office on a Friday. The creeping adoption of working from home policies is leading to less full City offices and more full home offices. Is this a good leading indicator for the office market? Perhaps not. If everyone works at home on Fridays, occupiers can’t rationalise the space. Evening out demand through a rota system might work, but then who’s going to pick Wednesday? And doesn’t eliminating the ad hoc flexibility of flexible working sort of miss the point? Nevertheless, transport trends for all cities might help us better understand hidden future redundancy in office space.