By Neil Lancefield, Transport PA Correspondent
Commuter journeys on UK railways remain at less than half of pre-pandemic levels, new figures show.
The industry body, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said the number of train trips made by people on their way to work or back in mid-October was only 45% of that. than it was before the coronavirus crisis.
This is an increase from 33% at the end of August, but highlights the difficulties faced by downtown businesses in attracting customers as many people continue to work from home.
London has seen the slowest recovery in commuting, with demand at just 41% of pre-virus levels, compared to 54% in the rest of Britain.
Meanwhile, leisure travel is about 90% of what it was before the pandemic.
They represent 55% of all rail trips, compared to 33% in autumn 2019.
The rail industry is running a marketing campaign with the slogan âLet’s get back on trackâ to encourage more people to travel by train.
It aims to create a âsustainable and more passenger-oriented futureâ for railways, especially in the commuter market.
The RDG said operators continue to improve train cleaning and provide information to help passengers avoid the busiest periods for travel.
He added that four out of five cars on the railroads have systems that refresh the air every six to nine seconds.
The RDG commissioned research from the consultancy firm WPI Economics which estimates that before the pandemic, train passengers traveling for leisure or work spent an average of Â£ 94 per trip, excluding train tickets, such as in shops, restaurants, hotels and galleries.
This totaled around Â£ 133 billion a year.
RDG Chief Executive Officer Andy Bagnall said: âRail connects people to jobs and opportunities, helps fight traffic congestion and makes cities air cleaner than other forms of transportation, so we are eager to welcome more people on board.
âRailways are working hard to meet the changing needs of our passengers, including new flexi seasonal passes to give commuters more choice, while continuing to prioritize ventilation and extra cleaning, as as the Britain is recovering, every passenger takes more than one trip. “
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