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2014-06-30 RDG-001
Rail Delivery Group


Britain’s rail travel habits revealed

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Rail Delivery Group

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Rail Delivery Group

Britain’s rail travel habits revealed

related documents

KPMG rail industry dataset (RDG, 2014)


30 June 2014
source Rail Delivery Group
type Press release

New research into the nation’s train travel habits has revealed the average Briton is taking more rail journeys, travelling further and buying more discounted tickets than in the 1990s.

The latest industry figures, collated by accountants KPMG and released by the Rail Delivery Group which brings together Network Rail and freight and passenger operators, helps to explain why Britain’s railway has become Europe’s fastest growing network.

The analysis shows that the average Briton:

takes 24 journeys a year by rail, compared to just 15 in 1998 – up 60%.
now takes the same number of rail trips as the average German and more than the French (17 journeys per person)and the Dutch (19 journeys).
travels 584 miles by train a year, compared to 380 miles 15 years ago.*
And last year almost 50p in every £1 spent on rail fares went on discounted tickets, up from 36p 10 years ago.

These factors help explain why journeys on Britain’s railway have grown by 4% a year on average since the late 1990s, compared to 0.3% in the 1980s and early 1990s, and at more than double the rate of the economy in the past decade and a half.

Yet even with this growth, government funding for the railway at £4bn was the same in 2012-13 as in 1994-95 in real terms. Government support for every journey is now also lower or the same as that for seven of the 12 years leading up to privatisation when the industry is implementing a major programme of rail improvements.

There are now 1.6m more services a year than ran 15 years ago, up 28%, with 1.4bn punctual journeys made a year, up 600m compared to 1997-98, and 1.2bn journeys are described as ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory’, 550 million more than in 1999 when surveys began.

Operator profits were £270m in real terms when private train companies first took over services in the 1990s and are now £250m. Over the same period the money operators generate that goes back to government to reinvest in more and better rail services has risen from £390m to £1.96bn, a 400% increase.

Martin Griffiths, chairman of the Rail Delivery Group and Stagecoach Group chief executive, said: "Passengers in Britain are flocking to board Europe’s best railway, attracted by newer trains, more services and great deals.

“Rail’s transformation comes from a winning combination of private sector innovation and government policy. Operators have used commercial acumen to attract passengers, and the growth in revenue has played a crucial role in enabling government to invest record sums through Network Rail.

“As passengers are at the heart of what we do, we know we must keep improving and investing, driving up the quality of services to respond to our customers’ needs.”


Notes to editors

* Altogether Britons travel over 36.2 billion miles by train a year – equivalent to travelling to the Sun and back over 300 times.

The Association of Train Operating Companies commissioned KPMG in 2013 to collate publicly-available industry data on passenger rail operations and analysis on the key aspects of performance in the period since the introduction of franchising. The RDG asked KPMG to update this data in May 2014 and based its report on that updated dataset.

The £4bn of government funding to improve the railway was the same amount, in real terms, that went into the railway in 1994-95. In the mid-1990s, however, £4bn also had to pay for running costs that are now mostly covered by fares. This change is enabling more money to be invested in improvements to the railway.

Download the report.

High-res jpeg infographics of some of the key facts ready for publication are available from the RDG media team.

Railhub Archive ::: 2014-06-30 RDG-001


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