There was a sharp drop in sales of tickets for long-distance trains in Russia in May-June: by 15% in Moscow and 22% in the entire country, according to reports by Vedomosti.
It is believed that one of the reasons for this drop is that more Russians are choosing to travel on airplanes.
According to estimates by the Region company, the Russian Railways lost about 1.3 million passengers or 2.5% of the passenger traffic on long-distance trains in the first half of the year. According to Region, the rate of loss of passengers accelerated to 5.7% in June.
The Infoline Analysis agency’s General Director Mikhail Burmistrov suggests that passengers are partly switching to planes. "The cost of a ticket for a sleeping car was approaching the cost of a plane ticket last year, and now the Russian Railways has had - for the first time in its history - the opportunity to introduce dynamic tariffs for transportation, after which a train ticket from Moscow to St. Petersburg, for example, can cost RUR 2,000 or RUR 8,000. The closer to the travel date, the more expensive the ticket. Plane tickets turn out to be cheaper," said Burmistrov.
The partial redistribution of passenger traffic has led to aircraft on domestic flights flying at maximum load, according to a top manager at the Siberia airline company and a representative of the UTair airline company, which are the largest air carriers on domestic routes.
According to Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya), air transport rose by 7.7% during the period of May-June, compared to 3.5% last year. According to an employee of the Russian Railways, the process was spurred by the fact that the government subsidizes regional air transport in the Northwestern, Siberian, Urals, and Far Eastern federal districts, as well as in the Povolzhye region. The subsidies are up to 50% of the cost of tickets.
According to the Aeroflot airline company, the increase in air traffic is also causing problems - the Moscow air hub is overloaded and there are few offers from low-cost airline companies. Last year, the Russian Railways transported almost 2 times more passengers (118 million) on long-distance trains than all the passengers that all the Russian airline companies transported on the domestic and international routes (74 million) combined. If the problems of air travel are not solved, Russians will simply stop traveling, thus creating an artificial mobility shortage, said a representative of Aeroflot.