Passenger Growth

These graphs show the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) statistics for number of passenger entries and exits at local stations of interest from 2001 onwards..

Source: ORR passenger entries & exits – data collected each year to end-March, up to & including March 2021, published November 2021.

The year to March 2020 included the GWR December 2019 Bristol-London timetable uplift. From February 2020 there was uncertainty about Covid transmission in public spaces. From mid-March 2020, the government advised that people should stay at home and avoid public transport. GWR introduced an emergency timetable from 23rd March 2020.

The year to March 2021 was multiply impacted by national lockdowns, local lockdowns, tier systems and working from home recommendations – see here for a reminder of the timeline. GWR made various timetable changes throughout the year to increase the services from the emergency timetable, and also to cope with Covid-related staff shortages.

Passenger growth – large stations - data to March 2021
Passenger growth – large stations – data to March 2021

The larger commuter stations were hard-hit, with leisure use mitigating the impact at some destinations:

Bath Spa6,432,8121,198,504-81%
Bristol Parkway2,371,812366,904-85%
Bristol Temple Meads11,619,3602,032,828-83%
Filton Abbey Wood976,150115,624-88%

Passenger growth – other stations - data to March 2021
Passenger growth – other stations – data to March 2021
Passenger growth – local stations - data to March 2021
Passenger growth – local stations – data to March 2021

The Severn Beach Line stations fared relatively better with an average passenger decline of only 71%, for example:

Clifton Down727,774168,394-77%
Severn Beach301,15498,726-67%
St Andrews Road5,7284,910-14%

St Andrews Road came amongst the top ten least “passenger-losing” stations in the country with its decline of only 14%, which merited a footnote from the ORR.  The station serves an industrial and warehousing area at Avonmouth/ Severnside, where many of the staff are key workers in food distribution.

Severn Beach Line – long-term trends

For the Severn Beach Line, according to ticket sales data, passenger numbers doubled between 2008 and 2013 and then showed gradual growth up to 2017.

2018 was a year of transition with the blockade of the Filton Bank for four-tracking, but 2019 saw a resurgence in passenger numbers to crest the 1.4 MILLION ridership figure for the first time.

The statistics from the Severnside Community Rail Partnership Annual Progress Report, published February 2021, showed approximated ridership to end-December 2020. Nine months of the Covid effect had caused 2020 passenger numbers to plummet to half those of 2019.

FoSBR look forward to publication of the SCRP February 2022 report to show approximated ridership to end-December 2021.

FoSBR record delays and cancellations on the Severn Beach Line here.

Passenger growth - Severn Beach Line
Passenger growth – Severn Beach Line

*ORR (Office of Rail Regulation) data based on ticket sales Lennon data approximated to calendar year end-December 2020: some journeys made on rover tickets or employee passes or substitute buses may not have been recorded.  Uncollected fares are not included and are estimated at up to 15% of the journey totals.  Figures taken from SCRP Progress Reports up to January 2020. 

**Weekday counts by Severnside Community Rail Partnership (SCRP) and West of England Partnership (WEP) were extrapolated to annual count by following formula: 36 weeks of 5 weekdays plus 16 (holiday) weeks of 3 weekdays plus 52 weekends of 3/5 weekday (ie, 2/5 Saturday + 1/5 Sunday). The supplementary passenger counts organised by SCRP (June) and WEP (November) are no longer carried out due to lack of funding and resources.

A general note on ORR data: ORR statistics are generated from ticket sales derived from LENNON, the rail industry’s ticketing and revenue system. However, LENNON does not attribute individual station figures correctly in a zonal fares system such as the Severn Beach Line. Also, a line such as the Severn Beach Line does not achieve 100% revenue collection so the data underscores the actual journeys made.