Changing track

Think tank: Centre for Policy Studies

Author(s): Tony Lodge

May 17, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Centre for Policy Studies looks at how to rescue the railways after the pandemic.

Despite the UK being one of the most open societies across Europe, rail journeys have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. The number of people commuting every day at peak time is just 15% of the pre-pandemic total and isn’t expected to return to anywhere close to what it was before. If the Government doesn’t reform rail now, it will cost the taxpayer £6 billion a year – the equivalent of a penny on income tax – to subside a model that continues to decline. The report advocates for reforms to ticketing, to meet new passenger demands for flexibility, and to boost competition across the network, amongst other proposals. Action is necessary to save the railways from sustained decline and to make strides towards delivering on the Government’s levelling up and Net Zero agendas.