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Railway Industry Association hails strong progress on increased passenger levels

21 March 2024 


The Office for Rail and Road (ORR) has today released further evidence of the strong return to rail post-pandemic, with a 20% year-on-year increase in the number of passenger journeys.

Commenting on the figures Darren Caplan, RIA Chief Executive, said: “The return to rail continues apace and this substantial 20% uplift year-on-year is a really encouraging increase in the number of passenger journeys and revenues.

“This follows the excellent recent DfT passenger statistics which - despite changing calculations methodologies to exclude all Elizabeth Line passengers - has in March exceeded 100% of pre-Covid figures. Inclusion of those passengers would take overall numbers to nearly 110%, which is real progress considering the comparison year, 2019-20, was the second highest on record.

“These new ORR and DfT figures are a reminder that the railway will need more capacity in the future, especially with the recent RIA-commissioned Steer report forecasting passenger numbers to grow between 37% and 97% to 2050, depending on which policy levers the UK Government adopts in the coming years.

“It is clear that there needs to be rail reform and a long-term rail strategy, including a plan for more capacity, to deliver the connectivity, economic, levelling-up, and sustainability benefits everyone wants to see.”

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