The massively subsidised Merseyrail has slumped into the red, after making profits of almost £20m in 2019, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its profits are shared between Serco and Abellio.
It has revealed its passenger numbers plummeted by up to 90% during the lockdowns imposed across Merseyside in 2020 which also forced the company’s turnover to fall by more than £25m.
New documents filed with Companies House show the business posted a pre-tax loss of £2.5m for the 12 months to January 9, 2021, compared to a £18.1m profit in the prior year. Its turnover also declined from £175.1m to £150m over the same period.
Before the pandemic, Merseyrail operated more than 600 train services from Monday to Saturday and 340 on Sundays. A total of 110,000 passenger journeys were made each weekday and 30m every year. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, passenger journeys dropped up to 90% during lockdowns and Merseyrail reduced the number of trains per day to about 350.
A statement signed by the board said “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the directors have closely monitored the results of the group and the impact the pandemic has had on UK public transport and the wider economy. Whilst the impact of Covid-19 evolves we continued to consider several scenarios and the impacts on passenger revenue, costs, profits and cash flow.
“Since the start of the first national lockdown for the UK, passenger revenue has fallen dramatically. This had started to recover slightly from mid-2020 with the easing of the national lockdown, however, passenger revenue was much lower than what it was in 2019 and the directors continue to monitor passenger revenue on a daily basis. The fall in passenger revenue has had a significant impact on the results of 2020”.
Perhaps this monopoly might issue some cheap services to and from Ormskirk and Liverpool after the pandemic? It’s our taxes that assist this Serco company to make its regular profits? Free off peak travel for West Lancashire pensioners is regularly denied by Serco, and no West Lancashire Labour councillor bothers to seek parity. It’s discrimination!