Latest Rail News

04.03.13

First class ticket sales booming – ATOC

Operators have encouraged more and more passengers to take up first class seats, according to new figures which show demand at a 10-year high.

Figures published today by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) show that there were 11 million first class rail journeys in 2012 – up from 6.7 million in 2003.

Despite the tough economic times, 2012 saw the third biggest jump in first class travel in the past 10 years. 2009 was the only year to see a fall in first class travel on the previous year.

ATOC says a higher number of discounts plus improved services are what has attracted more passengers to the first class carriages, alongside ‘Weekend First’ upgrades which can cost only £5.

Michael Roberts, chief executive of ATOC, said: “Train companies have responded to the tough economic climate by offering a range of deals and investing in improved services to encourage more passengers to travel first class. It is exactly this kind of commercial approach by operators that helps to explain why travelling by train has become more popular over a double dip recession, generating revenue to pay for services and sustaining government investment.”  

TOCs are offering better ‘at seat’ catering, ATOC said, alongside upgraded first class lounges and facilities, and refurbished train interiors.

Last year, journeys overall on the network rose to 1.44 billion – their highest for 90 years.

(Image copyright Alvey & Towers)

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