Passenger numbers up at Sheffield's railway stations
Sheffield’s railway stations saw more passengers last year according to latest figures which were boosted by the inclusion of senior and disabled tickets.
Pressure group Railfuture said the impact of current travel restrictions is causing a “temporary blip” in the continued growth in railway usage nationally.
Office of Road and Rail data shows an estimated 12.5 million passengers using Sheffield's six stations in 2019-20. That's 216,000 more than the previous year, a rise of 1.8 per cent.
However, passenger numbers across South Yorkshire were increased by the inclusion of around 400,000 senior and disabled concessionary tickets not included in the previous year's figures.
The busiest station was Sheffield with 10.1 million entries and exits by passengers, followed by Meadowhall, 1.8 million, and Chapeltown (South Yorkshire), 307,000.
The least used station was Darnall with passenger usage at 13,450. It was followed by Woodhouse, 37,276, and Dore & Totley, 219,000.
Across Yorkshire and The Humber, usage of railway stations increased by 904,000 to 118.3 million in 2019-20, while across Britain it fell 1.1 per cent to 3 billion.
The ORR has put the national reduction in journeys down to a “dramatic drop” in passengers in March due to Covid-19 restrictions, with lockdown introduced on March 23.
But Railfuture, an independent organisation with 20,000 members, is hopeful the railway system will recover.
Bruce Williamson, a spokesman for the group, said: “I am very confident that the railways will bounce back when Covid-19 is over.
“We can’t ignore the fact the world has changed and people working from home may stay put – but I still feel for the most part, things will return to normal.
“Considering the underlying trend of increased rail usage over the past 30 years, we have to look at Covid-19 as a temporary blip.”
In Sheffield there were 21 passenger journeys for every person living in the area in 2019-20 compared to the national rate of 75.
Jay Symonds, ORR senior statistical analyst said the drop in passenger numbers can be attributed to Covid-19.
He added: “There is no doubt that next year will look a lot different.”