ORR’s statistics indicate return of rail passengers in UK

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) in the UK has released new figures indicating that rail travel started to bounce back between April and June this year.

This was because of the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions by the UK Government.

From April to June, there were 182 million rail passenger journeys completed in total, representing a surge of five times the 35 million journeys made during the same quarter last year.

However, the total journeys made during the same period in 2019 stood at 437 million.

In conjunction with the statistics of the Department for Transport statistics, the ORR’s figure shows that passenger rail usage in the country was at around 30% of pre-coronavirus levels when the quarter began, before steadily growing to 55% in early June.

Based on Q1 2021-22 prices, passenger revenue recorded was at $1.36bn (£999m), equating to 35.9% of the $3.82bn (£2.8bn) in Q1 2019-20.

The franchised passenger revenue per journey plummeted to $7.43 (£5.45) in Q1 2021-22 from $8.53 (£6.26) in Q1 2019-20.

According to ORR, this occurred due to a fall in average journey length and a growth in the proportion of journeys made on off-peak tickets.

During the Q1 2021-22, the London and South East sector recorded 127 million journeys, amounting to 42.2% of the 301 million journeys made during same quarter in 2019-20.

In Q1 2022-22, London Overground recorded the maximum relative usage of 55.9%, followed by TfL Rail at 53% and c2c oat 48.2%. Chiltern Railways had a usage of 34.5% in comparison.

ORR said in a statement: “The regional sector recorded 40 million journeys in Q1 2021-22, giving a relative usage of 41.2%. Relative usage in this sector ranged from 54.5% for Merseyrail to 32.2% for ScotRail.”

In June this year, ORR introduced the 2023 Periodic Review (PR23) process to ascertain the funding required for the national rail network from 2024 to 2029.

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