Category Archives: Rail

Public transport under pressure

Parking pattern shows Sutton commuters deserting public transport

Commuters in Sutton Coldfield are deserting public transport new research from online parking platform indicates.

Analysis of its latest booking data, which advertises available parking spaces at train stations across the town and in city centre locations near to offices and work places, reveals a clear drop for the former in favour of the latter.

Indeed, a comparison of a variety of station car parks compared to city centre car parks, show that bookings at train stations via the online parking platform are down 46 per cent while in city centres they are up 19 per cent. 

Both these figures are for bookings in September compared to pre-lockdown in February.

Harrison Woods, managing director at, said: “Historically, train stations are one of our most popular locations but our research indicates a shift away from these as bookings for empty parking spaces has declined significantly.

“However, this is in stark contrast to empty parking spaces in town and city centre locations, which show a considerable rise in demand, most likely as more people now drive to their workplace.”

For example, bookings via at normally busy stations such as Ebbsfleet International Station are down 59 per cent, bookings at Ashford International Station are down 45 per cent, bookings at York Station are down 36 per cent and bookings at Aylesbury Station down 66 per cent.

However, bookings for city centre car parks have boomed. For example, in Brighton city centre it has risen by a massive 98 per cent, in Edinburgh it is up 43 per cent and in London up 28 per cent.

The new research also appears to confirm the results of a survey carried out by at the beginning of lockdown when half of those surveyed said they were less likely to use public transport.

The survey of 3,000 people also discovered that four-in-ten people were more likely to drive.

In fact, other independent research has highlighted that road congestion is now higher in certain areas than it was last year while there has also been millions fewer train journeys.

Harrison added: “Where we work, and how we commute to work, has fundamentally changed. While lots of people are still working from home, many of those venturing to the office are avoiding the train and trying to get as close as possible to the workplace using their own vehicle.”

To learn more about, or to pre-book an empty parking space in a city centre location, visit

Slump in railway journeys

Rail travellers and commuters in Sutton Coldfield say they have noticed a huge drop off in train journeys during the pandemic.

Rail passenger journeys in Great Britain fell to the lowest levels last seen in the mid-nineteenth century, official statistics from the Office of Rail and Road have revealed.

Commuters have noticed the change at stations across the town.

Office worker Dave Johnson, from Four Oaks, who works near Cenentary Square said: “It’s really eerie on the train at times after being packed in like sardines on the rush hour commute. Parking is also a breeze, particularly at Blake Street. It’s a shame this has happened under such tragic circumstances.

Nationally, 35 million journeys are estimated to have been made in the first quarter of 2020-21 (April to June 2020). This is a decrease of more than 400 million compared to the same quarter last year, highlighting the severe effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on passenger numbers.

More journeys were recorded in London and the South East compared to the rest of the country. Govia Thameslink Railway recorded 7.5 million passenger journeys this quarter, the most of any operator.

Recent estimates published by the Department for Transport show that current national rail use was predicted to be 32% of what would be expected on an equivalent day.

Graham Richards, Director of Railway Planning and Performance at the Office of Rail and Road, said:

“This unprecedented fall in passenger numbers, the largest on record to levels last seen in the mid-nineteenth century, has clearly had an impact on both rail usage and also ticketing revenue.

“These figures include the period of lockdown and reassuringly we’re now seeing passenger numbers slowly increase. ORR has worked closely with the industry, and continues to do so, to ensure the necessary health and safety advice and guidance is in place.

“Rail is one of the safest ways to travel and our inspectors continue to monitor the reality on the ground to ensure people have the confidence that they can travel safely.”

Total passenger revenue in Great Britain was £184 million in 2020-21 Q1. This equates to 6.9% of the £2.7 billion in 2019-20 Q1.

Anytime/Peak tickets accounted for 24.1% of all passenger revenue this quarter – the lowest share for such tickets in any quarter since the time series began in 2010-11.