Trainline comes off the rails as ticket sales plunge during pandemic

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Trainline PLC (LON:TRN) has crashed into a loss in its final results as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures in the UK caused ticket sales to plunge by over three quarters.


In its results for the year to February 28, the ticket-buying platform reported an operating loss of GBP100mln, swinging from a GBP2mln profit the year before, as revenue tumbled 74% to GBP67mln amid a 79% decline in net ticket sales to GBP783mln.


READ: Trainline recounts challenging year as ticket sales plunge


The group said the pandemic and lockdown had resulted in a “significant reduction in passenger volume”, with net ticket sales less than a quarter of the previous year’s figure.


As a result of the crises, Trainline said it had cut back costs to mitigate its losses as well as expanding its liquidity to GBP260mln.


However, the company was more upbeat in its outlook, saying there are “positive signs of recovery” in the current year with UK consumer ticket sales “stepping up” in the first quarter.


The firm added that it is “well placed” to lead a shift to online and digital ticketing as conditions improved, highlighting a “quick recovery” in the second quarter of last year following an initial slowdown in the first months of the pandemic.


Trainline also said its long term structural tailwinds remained including a growing rail market, a runway to migrate ticketing online and growing rail carrier competition in Europe.


“Last year was clearly very challenging for the industry. However, as we enter FY2022 we are seeing the first signs of recovery, with net ticket sales increasing as lockdowns ease and as non-essential travel returns, particularly in the UK. Our continued investment in product and tech through COVID-19 means, despite the ongoing COVID-19 uncertainty, we are well positioned to support the wider industry recovery and continue driving the market shift to online and mobile tickets. We are keeping our foot on the accelerator, improving the customer experience and launching new products across our markets,” Trainline chief executive Jody Ford said in a statement.


“Our focus includes developing innovative, bespoke features to serve the needs of the new commuter in the UK, and harnessing growing competition amongst rail operators in Europe by combining all carriers into one app to position Trainline as the marketplace of choice. Looking ahead I feel very confident about Trainline’s prospects for the future. We remain committed to championing rail as a greener mode of travel for millions of customers around Europe, and to driving the significant long-term growth opportunity for this business,” she added.

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