Bedford train station usage remains below pre-pandemic levels

2.4 million passengers entered and exited our train stations
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Train station usage in Bedford remained below levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic last year, new figures show.

Station usage more than doubled across Great Britain in 2021-22 as people across the country returned to more normal travelling routines following the pandemic.

Office of Rail and Road (ORR) figures show 2.4 million passengers entered and exited train stations in Bedford in 2021-22 – up from 878,012 the year before but below pre-pandemic levels of 4.1 million in 2019-20.

Bedford train stationBedford train station
Bedford train station
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Across the country, passenger numbers rebounded from a pandemic drop in 2020-21.

An estimated 1.8 billion visitors entered and exited train stations in Great Britain last year – more than double the 690 million visitors the year before.

But this was still well below the 3 billion passengers who used stations in 2019-20, before the pandemic.

The ORR’s estimates of station usage are taken from the rail industry’s ticketing and revenue system Lennon, with some local ticketing data.

Adjustments are made to make the estimates as accurate as possible, the regulator said.

Feras Alshaker, ORR director of planning and performance, said: "It is heartening to see passengers return to travelling by rail following what was a difficult period for the industry during the pandemic.

"There’s still some way to go in order for station usage figures to return to pre-pandemic levels.”

Transport think-tank, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), said it is positive to see numbers rebounding, but that there is still a long way to go.

Jacob Mason, research and impact director at the ITDP, said: "As we recover from the pandemic, the time for a major investment into public transport is now."

Of the three stations in Bedford, Bedford was the most used station with 2.3 million visitors, while Kempston Hardwick was the least used with 3,154.

The Department for Transport said it has provided more than £16 billion of funding for passenger services since the start of the pandemic.

A spokesperson added: "We now need to reform our railways to reflect changes in travel trends and restore financial stability on our railways."