The Department for Transport has issued the latest figures on the post-pandemic use of transport.
This week, the numbers show show the highest rail passenger use was 80% (Tuesday 19 July to Monday25 July) when compared with the same time of the year pre-COVID.
However, the previous week now sees an adjusted high of 93% on Wednesday to Saturday. From 6 July to 17 July the number has been confirmed as being above 90%.
As always, the rail numbers are a rolling seven-day average showing a percentage compared with the equivalent period in 2019.
The figures are flagged as an estimate for at least a week until the final tally can be taken from the nation’s ticketing systems – which is why the numbers for the pervious week edged up.
For the most recent week, the figures by day are:
Tue 19 July 80%
Wed 20 July 78%
Thu 21 July 77%
Fri 22 July 74%
Sat 23 July 73%
Sun 24 July 75%
Mon 25 July 80%
Again, as the final tally is taken into account, these numbers will revise higher.
Commenting on the figures, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “Everyone working in rail should welcome the fact that within just a few months of COVID restrictions beginning to be lifted, we are regularly getting to around 93% of pre-COVID passenger levels on the national rail network. What’s more, these figures are all the more impressive given they are based on a comparison with 2019-20 levels, which were the second highest on record.
“Were it not for the current industrial action and exceptional incidents like the recent heatwave, the return to rail would be even more impressive and consistent. Whilst some of the return can be attributed to higher leisure travel – which is great news in itself – it is clear that some of the increase is also down to more commuters travelling outside traditional peak work travel slots too.
“All of us in the railway industry now need to accept that many of the dire predictions of rail’s demises are wide of the mark, and take a ‘can-do’ approach to ensuring the future for rail is positive. Accordingly, we urge policy-makers and the Treasury not to base 30-year plans and forecasts for rail on the last two abnormal years, but to plan for much-needed increased capacity in the future, as more and more passengers return to the rail network in the months and years to come.”