Rail commuting in Great Britain at less than half pre-pandemic level

The number of train journeys made by commuters in Great Britain remains at less than half of pre-pandemic levels, le figure mostrano.

The industry body Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said in mid-October the number of railway journeys made by those going to work was just 45% of what it was before the coronavirus crisis.

That represents an increase from 33% in late August but highlights the difficulty city centre businesses face in attracting customers as many people continue to work from home.

The slowest recovery in commuting trips was in the capital, with demand in Londra at just 41% of pre-Covid levels compared with 54% across the rest of Great Britain. Nel frattempo, leisure journeys are at about 90% of what they were before the pandemic, accounting for 55% of all rail journeys, paragonato a 33% in autumn 2019.

The rail industry is running a marketing campaign with the strapline “let’s get back on track” to encourage more people on to trains. It is aiming to create a “sustainable, more passenger-focused future” for the railways, particularly within the commuter market.

Operators were continuing to conduct enhanced cleaning of trains, the RDG said. They are also providing information to help passengers avoid the busiest times to travel. It added that four out of five carriages on the railways had systems that refreshed the air every six to nine seconds.

The RDG commissioned research by the consultancy firm WPI Economics, which estimates that before the pandemic, train passengers travelling for leisure or work spent an average of £94 a trip excluding their train fares, such as in shops, restaurants, hotels and galleries. That totalled an estimated £133bn a year.

Andy Bagnall, the RDG director general, disse: “Rail connects people to jobs and opportunities, helps tackle congestion, and leaves the air in towns and cities cleaner than other forms of transport, so we’re keen to welcome more people back onboard.

“Train companies are working hard to meet the changing needs of our passengers, including new flexi season tickets to give commuters more choice, while continuing to prioritise ventilation and extra cleaning, because as Britain recovers, every passenger delivers more than a journey.”

People in England have been told they no longer have to work at home, but concern has been raised that this could change if there is a Covid surge this winter. If the NHS struggles, the government’s Covid plan B could start, including advice to stay out of offices again for “a limited period”.

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