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Trainline passes £5 billion ticket sales amid UK rail travel recovery

Trainline’s ticket sales exceeded £5 billion for the first time, as the complex enjoyed a rebound in rail travel in Britain and sharp growth across Europe.

The London-listed company’s pre-tax profits more than doubled to £48 million in the year to February 29, helped by a decline in rail strikes, which fell to 25 days from 30 days in the previous 12 months.

Trainline ticket sales were up 22% year-on-year, driven mainly by UK tickets worth £3.5bn. The overall British rail market rebounded to an estimated £10.6 billion in passenger revenue during the reporting period, up from £8.9 billion the previous year.

This bumper year has been further boosted by sales across Spain and Italy, which together grew by 43%, with Trainline penetrating into both international markets.

On the back of its European growth, Trainline has also surpassed £1 billion in international ticket sales for the first time.

The company has pursued a strong growth plan in both countries in recent years, where competition between rail operators is stronger than in its other markets such as France and Germany, which has led to increased demand for its model as a fare aggregator.

Industrial strikeIndustrial strike

Britain saw five fewer days of rail strikes in the year to February 29 than in the previous 12 months (James Manning/PA Archive)

“Competition from new entrant airlines is revolutionizing rail in Europe as more customers benefit from greater choice, lower prices and the opportunity to choose greener travel,” said Jody Ford, Trainline CEO.

“We have become the complex of choice in the UK and internationally and are achieving strong growth, particularly in those markets that are liberalizing faster such as Spain.”

Trainline said there was still “significant room for growth” in the UK, with tickets purchased offline accounting for around £3bn of total UK ticket sales last year. It is estimated that most of them are short-distance trips and day trips.

The company said it will continue to design its mobile app to better serve passengers, in part by expanding its digital season ticket feature.

Trainline has also launched a ‘Best Price Guarantee’ feature where it will refund the difference if a customer finds a cheaper same-day ticket elsewhere.

The moves have seen Trainline increase its share of commuter customers to 23%, up from 10% before the pandemic.

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