Train passengers up on rising petrol prices

Passenger numbers on the UK’s railways rose 4.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 as rising petrol prices encourage train travel.


Passenger numbers on the UK’s railways rose 4.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 as rising petrol prices encourage train travel.

Passenger numbers on the UK’s railways rose 4.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 as rising petrol prices encourage train travel.

A total of 316 million journeys were made by train in the first three months of the year, compared to 301 million over the same period last year, reports the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).

Over the entire financial year 2010/11 a total of 1.34 billion journeys were made by rail, taking the growth in passenger numbers to 6.6 per cent.

ATOC reveals that, on average, the price of fuel has risen at around twice the rate of rail fares over the last 12 months. Petrol is up by an average of 13 per cent, rising by 11 per cent in the period from mid-December to mid-April.

Train journeys in London and the South East were up 4.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year, while long distance travel by rail increased by 4.1 per cent, and regional journeys by 5.2 per cent.

Some one in six rail users said they had switched from car to train for at least one journey during February and March this year, according to research conducted by Ipsos MORI for ATOC, with around half of the 794 respondents citing the high price of petrol as the reason for this.

Passenger demand forecasting measures used by the rail industry indicate that a 5 per cent rise in the cost of fuel can result in around a 1 per cent increase in journeys on the rail network.

ATOC chief executive Michael Roberts, says it had been a ‘strong quarter’ on the UK’s railways, despite the tough economic climate.

‘At a time when high petrol prices are a concern to many households, the fact that more people are choosing to travel by train underlines the vital role that rail has to play in the economy’s continued recovery,’ he adds.

Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of GrowthBusiness.co.uk between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

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