Britons are making 60% more rail passenger journeys than they did 16 years ago, according to a report released by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
Using data collated by accountant KPMG, the RDG report reveals that the average Briton makes 24 journeys by rail per year, compared with 15 in 1998.
This brings the UK level with the same number of rail trips as the average German, and more than the French (17 journeys per person) and the Dutch (19 journeys).
The report claims that the average distance travelled in the year is 584 miles, compared with 380 miles 16 years ago. It also shows that 47p in every £1 spent on rail fares went on discounted tickets, a rise of 11p from ten years ago.
Government funding, the Rail Delivery Group claims, was the same in 2012-13 as in 1994-1995 in ‘real terms’. It says that Government support for every journey is lower, or the same as that for nine of the 12 years leading up to privatisation, when the industry was implementing a major programme of rail improvements.
There are now 1.6 million more train services running per year than 15 years ago, an increase of 28%.
According to the RDG, operator profits were £270 million in ‘real terms’ when the railway was first privatised, and are now £250m. Over the same period, the money generated that returns to Government has risen from £390m to £1.96 billion.
RDG Chairman and Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths said: “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.”
Nicola Walker, CBI director for business environment, said: “The franchise system has delivered huge investment in our rail network and better outcomes for passengers.
“Continued investment, and a focus on service quality and value for money for business users and the public, should be at the heart of the next generation of franchises.
“We’re confident that a combination of Network Rail’s ambitious plans, working alongside the franchise system, can deliver this.”