Travel News

One in three passengers will use trains less following rail strikes

Simon Calder’s Travel

One in three regular rail passengers say they are travelling by train less often due to the frequent strikes – and that their travel patterns have changed permanently.

They were responding to a snap social media poll conducted by The Independent on the last day of the latest walk-outs by train drivers belonging to the Aslef union. A total of 2,142 people voted in the four-hour poll on X, formerly Twitter.

The largest response – 40 per cent – was from people who say they are travelling by rail just as much as before on days free of industrial action. A further 27 per cent say they are using trains less during the long and bitter dispute, but they plan to return to the railway once the industrial strife is over.

But 33 per cent – one in three respondents in the self-selecting poll – say the industrial action has changed their travel habits permanently.

Action stations: the poll on X (formerly Twitter)

(Simon Calder)

One passenger, the travel marketing expert Steve Dunne, wrote: “I use rail much less these days than I used to – down 70 per cent on 2019.

“With the seemingly constant industrial and union disputes, strikes, work to rule, etc, and ever increasing fares, it makes rail travel too risky and fraught with worry. I mainly do virtual meetings or drive these days.”

Jim Darroch wrote: “I live in Edinburgh and have cut back on train travel as I don’t trust them to run. Could’ve gone to Manchester, Cornwall, York, etc, but it’s too risky. Not just strikes, also the pathetic service level of CrossCountry and TransPennine Express.”

Among the two out of five passengers who are travelling the same amount, Phil Read wrote: “I’m a regular rail user for leisure and the industrial action has not changed my travel habits at all.

“They are planned in advance and give lots of notice to make other arrangements. It’s the last-minute cancellations caused by the crumbling infrastructure that angers me.

The blogger “Travel Lexx” added: “With GWR being in what can sometimes can only be described as complete disarray due to track/signalling/whatever else problems, it is tough going sometimes!”

Neil Williams is among the 27 per cent who say they will return to the same level of rail use once the dispute is settled. He wrote: “Yes, using the car a lot more. I’ll go back once resolved.” But he added that if a move by LNER to…

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