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UK Rail journeys continued to recover in October-December despite impact of Omicron restrictions

Passenger rail journeys increased to 285 million in total across October to December 2021 in Britain – the highest since January to March 2020 – according to new official figures from the Office of Rail and Road, published on Thursday (Mar 17) .

United Kingdom: The upward trend in rail usage in 2021-22 continued despite restrictions being put in place due to the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

ORR’s figures show rail usage averaged 62% of pre-pandemic numbers between October and December 2021.

Estimates published by the Department for Transport show rail use peaked at 72% in November 2021 but fell to around 33% between Christmas and New Year. The most recent stats published by DfT show journeys at around 70% of pre-pandemic figures.

The recovery continues to be stronger across long-distance journeys, compared to regional journeys and journeys made in London and the South East.

New open-access operator, Lumo – which operates between London and Edinburgh – had around 100,000 passengers use its service since its launch in October 2021.

Journeys made with advance tickets reached 95% of pre-pandemic usage during this period, while off-peak tickets (up 47 percentage points) and anytime/peak tickets (up 36 percentage points) also had a substantial increase in usage compared with a year ago.

The share of journeys made using season tickets fell from 34% in 2019 to just 17% in 2021.

Total passenger revenue in Great Britain between 1 October and 31 December 2021 was £1.7 billion, with franchised passenger revenue per journey £5.98.