Press releases

Double the number of rail journeys made last year post-pandemic

16 June 2022
More than double the number of rail journeys were made by passengers between April 2021 and March 2022 compared to the number of those made during the pandemic in the previous year.
Cover Image
Kings Cross station

Official figures released by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) show a total of 990 million journeys were made in Britain over the last year.

Only 388 million journeys were made in 2020-21 as journeys fell to the lowest levels last seen in the mid-nineteenth century.

Income from passenger revenue also increased in the last year to £5.9 billion – nearly three times more than the £2.0 billion generated during the pandemic and equates to 54% of the £11 billion generated pre-pandemic.

ORR’s stats show 83.4% of passenger journeys were made using ordinary tickets such as Advance, Off-Peak and Anytime/Peak tickets.

Season tickets accounted for just 16.9% of journeys made this year – half of pre-pandemic levels. Season tickets generated revenue worth £526 million this year, equal to 24.0% of the £2.2 billion generated two years ago.

ORR also found that long-distance journeys recorded the highest relative usage compared to pre-pandemic figures.

London North Eastern Railway saw a return of 83.3% of passengers compared to usage pre-pandemic – the most of any operator.

Journeys made in the regions made up 58.3% of relative usage compared to pre-pandemic, and 55.9% of journeys were made in London and the South East compared to pre-pandemic.

Govia Thameslink Railway had the most rail usage in 2021-22 with 179.0 million journeys made, but this was 51.3% of relative usage compared to two years ago. Heathrow Express (30.6%) recorded the lowest relative usage this year.

Notes to editors

  • ORR is the recognised primary provider of railway industry official statistics. We publish a range of statistics, including railway performance, rail usage (both passenger and freight) and safety. The trustworthiness, quality and value of our statistics are overseen by the UK Statistics Authority’s regulatory arm – the Office for Statistics Regulation.
  • ORR’s stats also show the number of journeys made in the last quarter of the year. From January to March 2022, a total of 275 million rail passenger journeys were made. October to December 2021 were the months which saw the most journeys made (285 million) in the year.
  • Journeys made with advance tickets equated to 84.2% of pre-pandemic usage (two years ago), with a 63.4pp increase in relative usage compared with a year ago.
  • Off-peak tickets (up 49.4pp) and anytime/peak tickets (up 39.0pp) also had substantial increases in relative usage compared with a year ago.
  • Journeys made with season tickets equated to 28.4% of pre-pandemic usage (two years ago), with a 12.6pp increase in relative usage compared with a year ago.
  • All revenue figures quoted are in real terms with historic figures adjusted using the Consumer Prices Index.