September 23 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Correspondent
Saturday, August 2, 2014
More passengers are opting for a coach ride to Stansted Airport instead of the train, according to new figures released by the Department for Transport.
Almost 30% of those who are travelling to the Essex air hub are boarding a bus, pushing the proportion of train travellers to its lowest figure since records begun.
But despite seeing its share of passengers fall from 29% in 2003 to 22% last year, operator Abellio Greater Anglia said the Stansted Express was still seeing year-on-year growth.
A Stansted spokesman said the bus and coach network had expanded in 2013, when it saw a 500,000 increase in passenger numbers, taking the total using the mode of transport to more than 4.6million.
He added: “Stansted is the UK’s best airport for public transport with over 51% of passengers using rail, bus and coach to get to and from the airport.
“We’ll continue to work with our partners, including Stansted Express, to provide passengers with an even greater choice of public transport connections.”
In 2003 just 10% of those using the airport arrived by coach, while half travelled by private car. But the proportion of people shunning public transport and driving themselves has now fallen to 36%.
The figures come as Greater Anglia recently introduced new train services between Cambridge and Stansted Airport to increase the service to half-hourly at off-peak times to enhance the existing Cross Country services operating on this corridor.
An Abellio Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “The numbers of rail passengers using our Stansted Express service are growing year on year, with 5.7m passengers in 2013, an increase of 14% on the previous year.
“We are working closely with our partners at London Stansted Airport to promote rail travel and recently launched additional train services between Cambridge and Stansted Airport, increasing the weekday off-peak service to half-hourly on this busy and growing corridor, as well as extending the early morning service on Stansted Express with a new 03.40 departure from Liverpool Street on Fridays and Saturdays.”
The new Department for Transport aviation figures also showed a slight increase in the average delay time at the Essex airport, from 9.4minutes to 9.5minutes.
But Stansted still came in ahead of Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton.
The Stansted spokesman said: “The 2013 data makes it clear – if you’re flying from Stansted, it’s one of the best airports in the UK for on-time performance.”