February 29, 2024

Employers not doing enough to meet rail travel demand

New research from Trainline Partner Solutions shows corporates are failing to respond to a rise in demand for rail travel.

A report out today found that with hybrid working patterns becoming the norm and employees seeking to avoid “travel dead time” there is a growing demand to take the train.

A survey of UK business travellers found 82% reported that maintaining productivity is a major consideration, with 44% saying that the ability to stay productive in-transit has become more important since the pandemic and widespread introduction of hybrid, more flexible work patterns. 

Half of respondents say rail travel makes it easier to stay productive than air or road travel, while 80% agree that rail travel will become a more attractive proposition for business travel over the next 12 months.

The survey revealed the top advantages of rail travel over air or road are more reliable access to WiFi and mobile connectivity (chosen by 51% of respondents), a more comfortable physical environment for work (50%), a quieter and calmer experience (48%) and less waiting around (46%).  

However, while as many as 79% of business travellers believe employers should promote alternative travel options to short-haul air travel and private road travel, 45% reported that their companies could do more to promote rail options.  

Meanwhile, 87% of travel decision makers say supporting employees to stay productive in transit is an increasingly important consideration for their business, and 65% say it’s more important to make more rail travel options available to employees over the next 12 months.

But 68% think their company could do more to support corporate rail travel.  

Major barriers to delivering rail travel cited by businesses include current travel providers not providing extensive rail options (30%) and the company not deeming it a business priority (21%).

Earlier research by Trainline showed 71% of employees said they think businesses that do not offer sustainable business travel set a bad example for future generations. 

Champa Magesh, President Trainline Partner Solutions, said: “The pandemic has irreversibly changed approaches to work, with people increasingly prioritising staying productive wherever they are and wherever they need to go.

“While sustainability factors will always be central to the growing shift to rail, the push to eliminate “travel dead time” is clearly impacting transport choices too. Not only does rail help business travellers stay connected and better able to manage their work-life balance, it also encourages more sustainable, greener travel choices. It’s now up to employers – and their travel partners – to cater for this demand and support their staff to travel how they want to.” 

Research also shows that rail is not only regarded as an option for domestic business travel – as many as 64% said they would now consider rail for international travel.

One-third have already travelled to mainland Europe by rail in the last 12 months for business, almost doubling to 59% for employees aged 18-24 years – showing business rail is especially popular with a younger demographic.  

Trainline Partner Solutions (TPS)