Greater Anglia increases numbers as rail industry breaks passenger record

More passengers are travelling by train. Picture: PAUL GEATER

More passengers are travelling by train. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

The number of journeys on Greater Anglia last year rose by more than the national average, new figures from the Office of Road and Rail reveal.

The number of rail passenger journeys in Britain reached a record high in the past year - almost 1.76 billion journeys were taken in 2018/19, an increase of 50.9 million (3%) from the previous year.

Greater Anglia saw a 3.2% rise in journeys - and bosses at the company hope that will increase as their new trains start to enter service over the next few weeks.

A spokeswoman for the company said: "We are very pleased to see passenger numbers are going up and we expect to see that continue as the new trains come in giving more seats and a better travelling environment.

"They are also better for the environment - and are a very green way to travel for people concerned about their carbon footprint."

The recent boost was driven by journeys in the London and South East sector, which saw growth of 3.9% after falling for two consecutive years.

Journeys using season tickets recorded a fall for the third year in a row, while use of regular tickets increased by 5%, prompted by a 6.9% growth in anytime tickets.

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Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the rail industry, said: "Rail companies are changing and improving today, running thousands of extra services every week so that more people can benefit from taking the train and our communities are better connected."

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "This increase in the number of train journeys is good news.

"However, significant, sustained, longer-term investment in the railway must continue in order to build on this, reduce overcrowding and help regain passenger trust."

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "These new figures show that private train company revenues are increasing at twice the rate of passenger growth which means by any measure that passengers are being asked to pay more so that the train companies can keep making huge profits.

"We need to nationalise our railway at the earliest opportunity."

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