Passenger numbers rise to 80% of pre-pandemic levels

The number of passenger journeys on the rail network rose to 359 million in July-September 2022 – but the figures are 80.3% of the level in the same quarter three years ago, according to the Office of Rail and Road.

A total of 1.2 billion journeys were made in the year to 30 September, almost double the 649 million made over the previous year. Passenger revenues of £2.2 billion in the quarter were 71% of the total three years ago when adjusted for inflation.

London North Eastern Railway has now exceeded pre-pandemic passenger numbers, with its total of 5.86 million journeys 105.7% of levels three years ago. East Midlands Railway is at 99.9% of pre-pandemic levels, followed by Merseyrail at 86.7% and London Overground at 82.9%. All other franchised operators are below 80% of pre-pandemic levels, with TransPennine Express, Avanti West Coast, Southeastern, South Western Railway, ScotRail, Chiltern and CrossCountry below 70%.

Open access operators Grand Central and Hull Trains have both recovered to exceed pre-pandemic levels with the former’s 0.42 million journeys 107.9% of July-September 2019 numbers and the latter’s 0.28 million 102%.

The decline in use of season tickets continued, with only 13.1% of journeys made using them, compared with 31.3% in July-September 2019.