Rail travel at 55% of pre-pandemic levels, new figures show

Demand for weekday rail travel in Britain has exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time this year.

The number of train journeys made on Monday was 55% of the normal total, according to provisional Department for Transport figures.

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This is up from 38% on Tuesday January 4, the first working day of the previous week in England and Wales.

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The increase in usage is despite many train companies cutting timetables in response to pandemic-related staff shortages.

Passenger numbers exceeded 70% of pre-virus levels before fears mounted over the Omicron coronavirus variant in late November.

Guidance to work from home where possible led to a large drop in the number of commuters travelling by train.

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Car use increased from 75% to 82% between Tuesday January 4 and Monday while bus travel outside London rose from 57% to 68% over the same period.

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Sam Hewitt