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National Rail passenger numbers recover further

The number of passengers on National Rail reached 95 per cent of the pre-Covid level on one day earlier this month, and figures on other days were also above 90 per cent, according to the Department for Transport.

The latest official statistics show that the peak was reached on 10 August, when it was 95 per cent. It was 94 per cent on 7, 8 and 11 August.

The totals eased back to 88 per cent on Saturday 13 August, when there was a National Rail strike, and 82 per cent on Monday 15 August, when fewer people would have been travelling to work because of the summer holidays.

These are the most recent figures available.

The Railway Industry Association has urged the government to take the recovery into account when planning railway investment.

RIA chief executive Darren Caplan said: ‘Given all the industrial action of recent weeks, and that the month of August is the traditional summer season when many go on holiday, it is astonishing that we are now getting 95 per cent of pre-Covid passenger levels reached on the national rail network, and in a week where over 93 per cent was recorded every single day of the week. This welcome milestone has been hit less than six months since pandemic restrictions started being relaxed, and is a clear vote of confidence in UK rail.

‘One must assume it is only a matter of time before we are back to 100 per cent of pre-Covid levels. Given this, RIA and our members once again urge the Treasury and policy-makers and influencers not to base 30-year programmes and forecasts for the future of rail on the abnormal period of the pandemic, but instead to plan increased investment for the growth in capacity we are going to need in the years ahead.’

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