The Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to promote leisure travel through cost-effective ticketing, space for bikes and bags on trains, and “an end to swathes of the network closed for weekend engineering work”.
With a prediction that “leisure travellers could soon outnumber rail commuters”, CBT Chief Executive Paul Tuohy said: “As the Government looks to promote greener travel to help tackle climate change, it needs to create a modern railway that takes advantage of this new market.”
CBT is specifically calling for the cost of a return train journey to be cheaper than the equivalent domestic flight, for more services connecting attractions and tourist destinations, and for better onboard facilities including more space for luggage and bikes.
It also argues for changes to the way that engineering works are scheduled, to avoid disruption during busy holiday periods, and for timetables and services that adapt to changing travel patterns post-pandemic.
“If the Government is serious about its environmental ambitions, it should make it easier and cheaper for people to make greener transport choices,” said Tuohy.
His comments come as the Rail Delivery Group revealed that ticket sales for the late August Bank Holiday weekend surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Sales were up by 17% on the same weekend in 2019 and were more than double those of last year.
Driven particularly by short-distance trips, leisure travel nationally has risen to 97% of pre-pandemic levels since July 19, the RDG announced on August 27. Overall, however, rail industry revenue remained at just 59% of that recorded in 2019.
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