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Campaigners respond to runaway growth in rail passenger numbers

24 April 2014
Campaign for Better Transport has responded to new statistics showing rail passenger journeys across England, Scotland and Wales increased by 3.3 per cent over to 1.27bn.

Martin Abrams, Public Transport Campaigner, Campaign for Better Transport said

"That passenger numbers on our railways have doubled in just 17 years is remarkable and shows how integral trains our to the economy and to people's lives."

"The success of the railways is not without problems. The London economy relies on trains, but there is increasing anger among commuters at the high cost of getting to work, putting their finances under ever more pressure. There is also a big disparity is the quality of services in London and the South East compared with part of Northern England. The comparison between Scotland and Wales is stark, with devolved management of services in Scotland delivering significantly better results for journeys being taken by train than the equivalent in Wales."

"We need our railways to support all parts of the country. That means stopping fares rising faster than wages, investing in those areas which are under performing and giving local bodies more control over decision making to make sure spending goes to the right places."

Notes

1. On 24 April, the Office of the Rail Regulator published new data 'Regional Usage Profiles'. This showed rail passenger journeys across England, Scotland and Wales increased by 3.3 per cent over the year 2012/13 to 1.27bn.

2. In December 2013, Campaign for Better Transport published research into rail services, Benchmarking Rail Services Across Great Britain. This compared regional rail performance across investment, growth and passenger satisfaction.

Key findings were:

  • The rail networks serving London, the South East, North West, West Midlands and Scotland are the best performing in the UK.
  • In London, services are well-used and have benefited from major investment, although passenger satisfaction is hindered by concern about cost and over-crowding.
  • The North West and West Midlands perform well with fast-growing passenger numbers, investment and good local governance adding to the positive picture.
  • Scotland and Wales have very different fortunes. With management of the Scotrail franchise devolved, Scottish rail services are growing and have high levels of passenger satisfaction. Welsh rail services, which are managed from Whitehall, perform much less well in usage, accessibility and satisfaction.
  • Also performing weakly are the East of England and North East which have relatively sparse rail networks, making services inaccessible to many people.

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