Is Society’s demand for travel and accommodation changing, particularly in London?
Some recent trends are now emerging in UK rail passenger transport: historically volume and revenue from commuting into London followed “central (City) London employment”, with other rail passenger revenue broadly tracking economic growth. Over the last year this appears to have decoupled: despite employment holding up relative volumes are falling for commuting journeys to London whilst on InterCity and regional routes volumes continue to grow year on year.
Hypotheses to explain this include:
On London’s roads bus services have suffered with the significant delays caused by building works and congestion.
Meanwhile new accommodation options and better quality low cost hotels in the capital appear anecdotally to be much more common and easy to find than in the past.
Outside London volume growth has fallen compared to recent years, but only back to the old historic norm of broadly tracking GDP.
Does this experience match with that of colleagues in the hospitality industry?
I certainly agree that many people now can and do work remotely; I heard yesterday of the global head of data for one of the major US banks, nominally with an address in Canary Wharf actually working from his "second home" in a seaside village in Devon and although parts of the bank itself may need to relocate to Dublin because of Brexit, he himself doesn't see himself working in the future other than from Devon.
And as you also allude to, in the 17 years since I came to Devon, it constantly amazes me how many people commute from Exeter, Bristol and Reading and have a small bedsit or other bolthole.
But you've also got to agree that non-airconditioned trains in these increasing hot summers are at best unpleasant places to spend even 30 mins and if one can one avoids it!