The latest statistics from the Department for Transport show that passenger numbers averaged 98.3% of pre-pandemic levels in April, with 14 days exceeding 100%. Just four days saw less than 90% of pre-Covid levels in April.
The Railway Industry Association was positive about the results, with Chief Executive Darren Caplan saying: ‘The return to rail has clearly gathered significant pace in recent months. According to DfT data we are now seeing average daily passengers levels on the UK rail network of over 98% of pre Covid levels, in just 14 months since pandemic restrictions started to be lifted. This is despite widespread industrial action and poor service levels on some routes in recent months, and it should be noted is in comparison with 2019-20 levels, the second highest year of UK passenger numbers on record.
‘Encouragingly, these numbers are regularly now surpassing 100% and are being registered on all days of the week, whether weekends or working days including Mondays and Fridays. Coupled with reports that revenues are now above 90% of pre Covid levels, it is clear that rail travel – whilst not back to where it was pre Covid – is clearly heading in the right direction. Establishing Great British Railways as soon as possible should help to the industry to break above that 100% revenue level in a reasonable timeframe too.’
Mr Caplan called for investment, adding: ‘All of this is a positive reminder to the Government and the Treasury that railway capacity in the UK needs to grow and be funded – both the classic network and major projects like HS2 – now and in the future, if we are to deliver the connectivity, levelling-up, decarbonisation and economic growth agenda of the Government in the months and years ahead.’