Rail passenger numbers approach 1.6 billion in 2013/2014

The number of passenger journeys made on the franchised rail network in the 2013/14 financial year totalled 1,587.9 million.

This figure was 86.2 million higher than in the previous year (1,501.7 million), a year-on-year rise in traffic of 5.7%, compared with the 3.6% increase between 2011/12 and 2012/13. 

Both the total number of passengers carried in 2013/14 and the 408.1 million carried in the January-March quarter were again the highest recorded since the early 1920s. The 408.1 million figure compares with 381.4 million in the corresponding quarter of 2013, a rise of 7.0%.

The official Office of Rail Regulation statistics, released on June 5, also show that in 2013/14 the open access operators (Grand Central, First Hull Trains and Heathrow Express) carried 1.9 million passengers, making the grand total for the year 1,589.8 million. The open access companies carry just 0.12% of the passengers carried by the franchised companies. 

Traffic in London and the South East is growing more strongly than the rest of the country. Numbers increased from 265.9 million in the January-March quarter of 2013, to 289.8 million in the same period this year, a growth of 9.0% despite a period of extreme weather conditions.

However, long-distance train operators carried 31.3 million passengers (provisional figure) in the January-March quarter. This is the lowest since the same three months a year ago, when there were 31.1 million journeys. 

And while the Regional operators carried slightly more passengers (87.0 million) in this January-March period compared with that of 2013 (84.4 million), this is slower than the 87.2 million carried in the same period two years ago.

Over the entire past financial year, London & SE traffic journeys totalled 1,107.8 million (69.8% of the total), Long-Distance totalled 129.3 million (8.1%), and Regional operators 350.8m (22.1%). 

This concentration of travel in the shorter-range markets is reflected in that while the number of passenger journeys made rose by 5.7%, the 59.2 billion passenger-kilometres travelled in the 2013 calendar year resulted in a rise of just 1.5% from the 58.3 billion pkm in the previous year.

Of the 1,587.9 million passenger journeys in 2013/14 some 691.5 million were taken using season tickets and 53.1 million were advance purchase tickets, while 481.2 million tickets were off-peak ordinary fares.

Total ticket revenue received by franchised operators in 2013/14 amounted to £8,203 million, compared with £7,707m the previous year (a rise of 6.4%) and £3,901m ten years ago. The £8,203m total revenue is split by sector: Long Distance £2,779m; London & SE £4,180m; Regional £1,244m. The non-franchised operators had revenue of £54.9m in 2013/14. 

The revenue per passenger kilometre in 2013/14 stood at 13.75p (22p per mile), and the average fare is now £5.17, up from £5.13 in 2012/13.

Responding to the continuing growth in rail travel, RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said: “For years fleet and track investment has been stalled and delayed, leaving passengers paying through the nose to cram onto overcrowded, clapped-out trains.”

All figures are subject to rounding: the figures for 2013 were reported in RAIL 743.

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