Posted 3rd October 2014 | 3 Comments

Passenger numbers continue to rise

DESPITE recent criticisms of fare increases, the number of rail passengers has continued to increase at record rates, according to the latest figures released by the Office of Rail Regulation.

Not only have passenger numbers increased across all sectors – long distance, London and South East, regional and open access – but so have the passenger/kilometres travelled. And revenue is up, not because of fare increases but because of the rising number of journeys made. Advance tickets “enjoyed the highest growth of 9.0 per cent,” said the ORR.

The latest figures are for the first quarter of the financial year 2014-15, covering April – June, when:-

* There were 15.3 billion franchised passenger/kilometres recorded, an increase of 3.7 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.

* Franchised passenger journeys reached 393.4 million – the highest number of franchised passenger journeys in any Q1 since ORR began keeping records.
Passenger journeys increased in all sectors, including long distance where campaigners against HS2 have claimed numbers had stalled or were even declining.

* Journeys on long-distance franchises services reached 32.7 million – a 1.5 per cent increase on the same quarter last year.

* Journeys across the franchised London and South East sector were 273.4 million, a 2.1 per cent increase on the previous year.
* On regional services there were 87.2 million journeys –1.6 per cent more than a year ago.

ORR added: “As with passenger/kilometers, the regional sector recorded the highest passenger journeys in any first quarter since the beginning of [ORR records], driven by an increase in the ordinary advance and off-peak ticket travel.”

And ‘open access’ operators recorded the largest increases of all – with
0.13 billion passenger/kilometres (up 8.8 per cent), while actual passenger journeys  “reached an all-time high of 0.5 million,” said the ORR.

In its overview of the latest figures, the ORR comments: “Timetabled train kilometres have increased in each of the last ten years to meet the increasing demand for rail travel. Passenger journeys, kilometres and revenue have followed a similar growth trend in the last decade with kilometres and revenue increasing every year since 2002-03.

“Passenger journeys did experience a fall in 2009-10 when journeys on season tickets fell, possibly as a result of the recession; however 2009-10 was an exception and journeys have continued to grow since then.”

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    No doubt the recent announcement that fares will only rise with inflation and the end of flex will encourage even more rail use .

    As for announcements by STOPHS2 well we've seen how they will simply use passenger figures for trains leaving Euston at 5 am to justify there is plenty of free capacity !

  • James, London

    It is a true triumph that passenger numbers continue to rise, but it does bring problems of overcrowding.

    It's about time that the East Finchley to Finsbury Park disused stretch of the Northern Line was reopened and linked up with the line to Moorgate: it Brixton on the Victoria Line can reverse 28 trains per hour, I'm sure Moorgate could also easily handle the extra number of trains.

    And what about the proposed extension to the Bakerloo Line: surely far more sensible to extend the Watford to Euston Overgrounds Line as far as Hayes; the mainline gauge trains will have far greater capacity, the new line through central London will relieve the Tube on North South journeys, and if the tunnels are built to GC gauge then freight could use the line. If the Bakerloo terminus was Queens Park, the mainline sections could be overhead electrified and both lines could run at Metro style service frequencies.

    And instead of Crossrail linking up with the Watford Line, Crossrail could instead take over the Overground service to Richmond, preserving the SW to NE axial service nature of the whole Crossrail project.

  • Chris Neville-Smith, Durham

    There you are. Proof that we don't need HS2.

    I haven't yet decided why these figures prove we don't need HS2, but I'm sure StopHS2 will explain the reasons in due course.