I have written back to the ASA today to point out that they have accepted Tramlink/TfL’s arguments too easily.
According to TfL’s 2005 Annual Report London Underground had 976 million passenger journeys and London Buses had 1,973 million passenger journeys in 2004-5. Croydon Tramlink journeys are so trivial that they do not even mention them beyond saying “Though passenger journeys were up on Croydon Tramlink, TfL still has concerns about the performance of our concessionaire company …”.
Some indication of Tramlink passenger journeys can be found in the NAO report on trams. See Table 6 on page 21. This says that the promoters of Croydon Tramlink were expecting passenger number of 25 million. They achieved 15 million in the first year of operation and 19 million in 2002-3. This represented a 24% shortfall.
This tiny number are in no way comparable with London Underground (50 times bigger than Tramlink) and London Buses (90 times bigger than Tramlink). The total so-called network amounts to 18.5 miles of track with three tiny routes. Whilst there is nothing wrong with Croydon Tramlink it is utterly irrelevant to the vast majority of Londoners. Therefore the recent TfL ads that put trams on a par with the tube and buses are essentially dishonest.