Record year for train travel in the UK despite price hikes

 
Marion Dakers
THE NUMBER of train journeys made in Britain hit a post-war high in the last year, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies.

Despite fares rising by an average of 5.9 per cent in January, passenger numbers rose six per cent in the year to March to surpass 1.4bn – the highest for a peacetime year since 1920, ATOC said in research out today.

Commuters are hunting for the best deals on fares, with advance ticket sales rising by 16 per cent in the period, it added.

Rail operators sold 365m off-peak tickets over the last year.

The government last week left the door open for big hikes in peak-time fares in a bid to encourage more commuters to travel outside the rush hours.

One in four people ditched their cars in favour of a train for at least one journey in recent months, an Ipsos Mori poll commissioned for ATOC claimed.

Around one third of people who switched said the rising cost of petrol, which has hit new highs in the UK in recent weeks, was a factor in their decision.