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Train travel for leisure leading rail's comeback, says GBRTT

But although this quarter has seen growth, rail is still facing a sizable hole in its finances and it is all the more important that all parts of Britain’s railway are working collaboratively to seize the opportunities for mode shift to rail....

07 December 2023
Source: GBRTT

 

Great British Railways Transition Teams’ (GBRTT) Train Travel Snapshot shows that increased use of railcards since the pandemic is underscoring the popularity of leisure travel. 

GBRTT’s Train Travel Snapshot has tracked the sustained growth of the leisure market, accounting for more than 75% of the increase in overall rail revenue in the three months to 30 June 2023.


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With high levels of inflation known to be affecting household decisions and placing greater emphasis on value for money, 21% of revenue this quarter was for travel using discount Railcards, up from 16% in the same quarter in 2019.

The latest Office of Rail and Road statistics revealed total revenue, adjusted for inflation, was up 13% (£295 million) on the previous quarter, showing a steady upward climb and a record high since the beginning of the pandemic.

The definition of business, leisure and commuter travellers is based on responses from the Wavelength survey:

  • A business traveller is someone who is travelling on company business, i.e. for a work meeting

  • A commuter is someone who is travelling to or from their usual place of work or education

  • Leisure passengers include those travelling for personal leisure reasons (e.g. visiting friends or family, days out, shopping, entertainment, sports activities, etc) plus people travelling for personal business reasons (e.g. a health appointment, a job interview or other appointment)

While accounting for a smaller share of overall revenue, spring months saw people taking more trips for business reasons than previous quarters, up 8%, as did commuting which was up 6%. This aligns with reports that more people are going into the office on more days now.

Although this quarter has seen growth, rail is still facing a sizable hole in its finances and it is all the more important that all parts of Britain’s railway are working collaboratively to seize the opportunities for mode shift to rail.

Suzanne Donnelly, Director of Passenger Revenue at the Great British Railways Transition Team, said

“Encouraging more people to choose rail when they’re weighing up their travel options will not only help make our railways more financially sustainable, but support Britain’s economic and environmental ambitions.

“We need the collective clout of all parts of the industry working together to drive growth. Local rail leaders know their own contexts best, but by bringing decision-makers across the industry together to prioritise investment, GBRTT is supporting joined-up decision making that works across the whole network.

“There are a few areas where we’re focused on making collective progress. These include service reliability, optimising how capacity is used across the network in light of new travel trends, making ticketing simpler and better value for money, and improving communications and information to customers. These are areas we know will have the biggest impact in encouraging more people to choose the train, more often.”

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