ORR Covid Report Highlights End of Rail Privatisation Era

Covid - 19 floor sign, Please keep your distance

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has said the annual report from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) on the rail industry's finances shows the effect of Covid-19 has left the era of privatisation "null and void". 

ORR figures for 2019-20 showed the cost of the industry was £20.2bn, which was funded through fares and other passenger income (£11.6bn), government (£6.5bn) and other sources (£2.0bn). 

Fares income dropped by 1.1% to £10.4bn, largely due to the impact of Covid-19 in March. 

Government funding of the operational railway increased by 45.2% to £6.5bn, in part due to the impact of Covid-19. 

Passenger journeys dropped to as low as 5 per cent of normal levels while income from fares in 2020-21 Q1 was £184m, £2.5bn (93.1%) lower than 2019-20 Q1. 

Department for Transport payments to train operators between April and June 2020 was £2. 0bn.This is higher than the £1.2bn of government funding for franchised passenger operators during the whole of the 2019-20 financial year. 

Commenting, Cortes said: “What the ORR report starkly shows is that our railways would have come to a total standstill in a time of national emergency without the support of the state. 

“The ORR’s report points to an even greater impact of coronavirus on our railways in figures for this financial year, which ends next April, but what is abundantly clear right now is the case for private railways is null and void. 

“Our brave members, transport workers, have been saving lives since the outbreak of the pandemic by making sure our NHS heroes and others on the frontline can travel to and from their work. 

“This crisis has highlighted how our railways can never again be seen as a plaything of profiteers; they are, and always have been, vital to the wellbeing of our nation and must be run for and by the people.” 

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