Healthy passenger numbers

Recovery of rail post pandemic

The rail industry has been in a steady state of recovery for passenger numbers since the pandemic measures have been lifted. It has been revealed that more than double the number of rail journeys were made by passengers between April 2021 and March 2022 compared to the number of those made during the pandemic in the previous year.

This claim is supported by the official figures that have been released via the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), revealing that a total of 990 million journeys were made in Britain over the last year. This comes in stark comparison to the recorded journeys just one year prior, where only 388 million were recorded between 2020-21. These staggeringly sparse numbers were the lowest they have been since the mid-nineteenth century.

Due to the increase in overall passenger usage, the sector naturally saw a recovery in passenger revenue, which totalled up to £5.9bn. This massive boost to the economic stability of the rail sector represents near tripling of the £2bn that was generated during the pandemic and equates to 54% of the £11 billion generated pre-pandemic.

The ORR statistics go into greater depth about the payments made for these passenger journeys, outlining that 83.4% of passenger journeys were made using ordinary tickets such as Advance, Off-Peak, and Anytime/Peak tickets.

Season tickets accounted for just 16.9% of the journeys made this year, equating to half of the pre-pandemic levels, generating revenue worth £526m for the year. This equals the 24.0% of the £2.2 billion generated two years ago.

The ORR have also released information around the long-distance journeys across the UK, highlighting the highest relative usage compared to pre-pandemic figures.

Govia Thameslink Railway had the most rail usage in 2021-22 with 179.0 million journeys made, but this was 51.3% of relative usage compared to two years ago. While the most of any individual train operator comes from London North Eastern Railway, which saw a return of 83.3% of passengers compared to usage pre-pandemic. In contrast, the lowest recorded usage this year has come from the Heathrow Express, with just 30.6% recorded usage.

The rail industry is seeing healthy numbers of passenger usage, which will struggle to maintain stability due to the upcoming rail strikes in the coming week. It is vital for the industry that the newfound stability can be normalised and maintained, to ensure the future of rail remains at this current incline.

Rail Technology Magazine latest edition Jun/Jul 22


Elizabeth Line: Stations and Their Innovations

The anticipated June/July edition of RTM is now up and running, loaded with insights and analysis of upcoming rail projects, innovations and ambitions across the UK sector. We invite you to dive in to hear from the likes of Christian Irwin OBE, Rail Investment Centre of Excellence Director at Network Rail, as he outlines the developments within the SPEED project and Jackie Townsend, the Managing Director at Tram Operations Ltd, as she discusses innovative new technology to enhance safety standards and protocols within the industry. These are just a few of the great stories that we have to offer, so dig in and enjoy the informative fun. 


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