SJ, Sweden, travel, rail, delay, train, high-speed, network, punctuality, worst, europe, passengers, 2017, profit, commuter, x2000

Record passengers at Swedish rail – but not profit

“Offensive efforts” will focus on improving punctuality and keeping travellers happy.

Ongoing positive travel trends mean that the state-owned passenger rail operator SJ reached a new record in 2017. For the first time, more than 30 million tickets were sold in one year, an increase of 2 million on the previous year.

This contributed to a “stable” operating profit for the full year of SEK 666 million (€67.5 million), SJ said, even though this was a decline from the €837 million earned in 2016. Net sales amounted to SEK 7.78 billion, down from the previous year’s SEK 9.34 billion.

SJ explained the lower earnings and sales “entirely by the fact that SJ no longer runs the commuter trains in Stockholm County”.

Operating profit for the fourth quarter was also down, from SEK 355 million to SEK 181 million.

On the offensive
SJ’s long-term strategy, “with offensive efforts”, focuses on attracting more travellers and lowering the cost base while keeping customers satisfied and improving the operator’s poor punctuality.

“The revenues from our own traffic increased, and we have great success in contract traffic, for example regional and commuter trains for western traffic,” said SJ CEO Crister Fritzson.

SJ’s punctuality improved slightly in 2017, from 81% to 82% for long-distance rail, from 90% to 92% for middle-distance journeys and from 92% to 93% for short-distance trains.

This meant that the operator’s Satisfied Customer Index rose from 70% to 72%.

“It is very positive that more and more travellers are choosing the train and SJ,” says Fritzson. “We meet the high demand at SJ with attractive offers and even better opportunities to plan and book trips digitally.

Starting in autumn 2018, SJ will start rolling out its remodelled and modernised X 2000 trains, and a few years later its completely new high-speed trains are planned to be in use.

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