Trainline hails recovery in rail travel demand

Independent rail and coach ticket sales platform Trainline has predicted a return to profitability following a recovery in sales.

Group net ticket sales recovered to £1 billion in the half year, 179% higher year-on-year.

Net ticket sales improved over the course of the half as Covid restrictions eased.

Group revenue recovered to £78 million, 151% higher than the prior year as a result of the rebound in net ticket sales.

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The company reported an accelerated shift to digital ticketing as it reported an improved performance for the six months to August 31.

Group net ticket sales in the last three months recovered to 71% of the same period in 2020, the highest level since start of the pandemic.

The top four domestic markets in International – France, Italy, Germany and Spain – returned to growth in the summer quarter, up 5% overall versus the same period two years ago.

UK consumer sales returned to 95% pre-pandemic levels and returned to growth in August.

The company expects full year adjusted earnings [ebitda] of between £35 million-£40 million, assuming continued recovery and no new lockdowns, with net ticket sales of between £2.4 billion and £2.8 billion.

However, the company cautioned that “there continues to be uncertainty around the pace and shape of the market recovery”.

Chief executive Jody Ford said: “It is reassuring to see demand for rail travel coming back strongly in all markets across Europe, following an incredibly tough period for the industry.

“While it remains unclear how long it will take for demand to fully return, we remain positive about the long term tailwinds for the industry, including the significant planned investment in rail capacity, particularly on high speed routes, and a growing awareness of the environmental benefits of travelling by train versus other less sustainable modes of transport.

“As Covid restrictions ease, Trainline is taking a leading role in supporting the rail industry in its recovery, leveraging our investment in digital ticketing, product innovation and marketing.

“This is reflected in the recovery of our UK consumer business – accelerating the market shift to etickets, which now make up 40% of all tickets sold in the UK – and reflected in our return to growth across our top four domestic markets in international, including Italy which grew 95% in Q2 versus two years ago.”

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