A RAIL company has seen a small “spike” in passenger numbers each time the Prime Minister has announced a loosening in lockdown measures.

Southern Rail has been keeping a close eye on the number of people using its services during lockdown to ensure they can travel safely.

Customer services director Chris Fowler said: “We went down to about ten per cent of our normal customer rate just before the lockdown. Across Govia Thameslink Railway we carry about one million people a day, so on Southern and Gatwick Express services that’s about 600,000.”

But the easing of lockdown measures has encouraged more people to venture on to trains again.

Mr Fowler said: “We have seen spikes every time the Government has eased lockdown but they haven’t been very pronounced – if I’m honest.

“Every time lockdown is eased we have really planned hard for it.

“We have brought in extra people, we have had managers at some locations in case things go wrong or customer numbers become really large, with the fear that we don’t want it to be unmanageable. But you don’t really see any difference.

“When you look at the passenger numbers you do see that it has ticked up a little bit.

“It is noticeable. But on the ground, in the day, you don’t really notice it.”

Mr Fowler said the increase had not been so manageable in other countries, saying Southern had been in contact with European partners during the lockdown.

He said: “The UK came into this later than others and it is coming out of it later, so it is useful to see other people’s experiences.

“We were told by the people who run the Shanghai Metro that they saw a big spike when lockdown eased to allow people to go back to restaurants and bars.

“So we were particularly prepared for that when that was allowed but, again, we saw that spike in the figures but it didn’t feel that different on the ground.”