Second lockdown brings another fall in Greater Anglia passengers
- Credit: Archant
Greater Anglia has been carrying just under a quarter of its normal numbers of passengers during the second lockdown according to figures released by the rail company.
That is considerably more than it carried during the first lockdown when all but essential travel was banned – but less than it had been carrying during the late summer and early autumn when passenger numbers had started to rise again.
During the spring lockdown the company carried only 7.7% of normal passenger numbers and some of its trains were almost empty.
After restrictions were eased and the company joined others across the country to emphasise the safety measures the industry was taking, passenger numbers rose to about 34% of pre-lockdown levels.
Now trains are carrying about 23% of the previous numbers of passengers – and that number could rise at the end of lockdown as people take the train to travel to do their Christmas shopping.
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A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said: “There are more people still travelling to work and with schools and colleges open there are students using the trains to get to their classes.
“Also, unlike the first lockdown, there isn’t a total ban on non-essential journeys. People are still able to use trains to get somewhere to exercise if they cannot exercise near their home – although they are advised to use less-busy trains.”
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The company has introduced new cleaning regimes for its carriages – and is preparing to release some figures which are expected to show that the special disinfectant mist it is using in its carriages has been very effective in killing off the virus and keeping it off surfaces for several weeks.
Rail companies are continuing to get financial support from the Department for Transport which is expected to continue until a new operating model is brought in to replace the franchise system that is due to be phased out over the next few years.
Transport companies think it could be some time before passenger numbers return to pre-lockdown levels because a significant number of commuters who have switched to working from home during the pandemic are expected to continue to do then even after the final restrictions are lifted in the months or years ahead.