GBRTT: Sustained growth in the leisure market

Posted: 20 November 2023 | | No comments yet

Great British Railways Transition Team (GBRTT) have reported sustained levels of growth in the leisure market.

GBRTT growth leisure market

Released last week, Great British Railways Transition Teams’ (GBRTT) Train Travel Snapshot continues to track the sustained growth of the leisure market, accounting for more than 75% of the increase in overall rail revenue in the three months to 30th June.

Increased use of Railcards since the pandemic underscores the popularity of leisure travel. With high levels of inflation known to be affecting household decisions and placing greater emphasis on value for money, 21% of revenue this quarter was for travel using discount Railcards, up from 16% in the same quarter in 2019.

The latest Office of Rail and Road statistics revealed total revenue, adjusted for inflation, was up 13% (£295 million) on the previous quarter, showing a steady upward climb and a record high since the beginning of the pandemic.

While accounting for a smaller share of overall revenue, spring months saw people taking more trips for business reasons than previous quarters, up 8%, as did commuting which was up 6%. This aligns with reports that more people are going into the office on more days now.

Although this quarter has seen growth, rail is still facing a sizable hole in its finances. It is more important that all parts of Britain’s railway are working collaboratively. This involves seizing the opportunities for mode shift to rail.

“Encouraging more people to choose rail when they’re weighing up their travel options will not only help make our railways more financially sustainable, but support Britain’s economic and environmental ambitions,” Suzanne Donnelly, Director of Passenger Revenue at the Great British Railways Transition Team, said.

“We need the collective clout of all parts of the industry working together to drive growth. Local rail leaders know their own contexts best, but by bringing decision-makers across the industry together to prioritise investment, GBRTT is supporting joined-up decision making that works across the whole network,” Donnelly added.

“There are a few areas where we’re focused on making collective progress. These include service reliability, optimising how capacity is used across the network in light of new travel trends, making ticketing simpler and better value for money, and improving communications and information to customers. These are areas we know will have the biggest impact in encouraging more people to choose the train, more often,” Donnelly concluded.

Rail passenger revenue by journey purpose, 1 April – 30 June 2023

Journey purpose


Revenue change from last quarter



£197 million


26 million


£929 million


161 million


£1,431 million


203 million

The figures have been adjusted for inflation.

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