Confidence in public transport slips further

Confidence in public transport slips further

Confidence in public transport slips further

39% say they will use public transport less once all restrictions are lifted, with 65% of those predicting a switch to car

 

 
The current advice to avoid public transport could have far-reaching implications on the way we travel, long after the Covid-19 lockdown ends, according to a representative survey of 1,500 adult UK residents undertaken by transport and research consultancy SYSTRA between June 4 and 12.

Key findings include:

  • 39% predict they will make fewer public transport trips once all Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted than before lockdown, this increases to 59% of those who commute by rail or bus. Londoners are more likely to predict making fewer public transport journeys, with 62% saying they will use public transport less. When the same question was asked in April this year, 20% of the public predicted a decline in their public transport use.
  • 65% of those predicting a decline in use say they will replace their public transport trips with the car (either as a driver or passenger); 46% say they will walk more, 12% will cycle more and 11% will no longer make the journey.
  • The introduction of a vaccine would reassure 37% of those who are predicting a decline in usage, who would go back to using public transport as before.
  • Over the next month, the use of safety measures would make 68% feel safer to travel on public transport, with the most reassuring being: limiting the number of people that can board, access to hand sanitiser at stations/stops, deep-cleaning of the interiors of vehicles, stations and bus stops, and mandatory wearing of face coverings.

When appropriate, SYSTRA says that public transport operators and government will need to reassure passengers that public transport is a safe and environmentally friendly way of travelling. The recent change to social distancing guidelines to ‘one metre plus’ may influence passenger perceptions of safety on public transport further.

The scale of the challenge facing government and public transport operators should not be underestimated

“The scale of the challenge facing government and public transport operators should not be underestimated,” said Katie Hall, SYSTRA’s director of transport planning. “Action must be taken now to prevent a potentially devastating impact on climate change should this switch from public transport to car happen.

“We must understand what people need to restore their confidence in public transport to get us on the path to net zero emissions.”

Evelyn Robertson, SYSTRA’s research lead, added: “Passenger intentions to stop using public transport even when safe to travel does not mean this future is set in stone. These findings highlight the importance of engaging with passengers to recognise the influences on their attitudes and behaviour – only then can we understand how to best inspire environmentally-friendly, convenient and safe transport choices.”

Nearly a third of office workers never want to return

UK employees are expecting a more flexible way of working once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The SYSTRA survey found that over half (55%) would like to change the times that they work, including their start/finish times or work their hours across fewer days, compared with before Covid-19.

UK employees are expecting to be able to make these changes, with 59% believing their employer will allow the changes they want, and 40% prepared to change jobs if not allowed.

Meanwhile, 29% of office workers never want to return to the office, instead wan/ng to work from home. Of those that commute by rail or bus, this increases to 32%.

SYSTRA says that public transport operators will need to adapt and consider their ticketing products to meet new commuter behaviours, and the traditional peak/off-peak travel times may disappear. However, it also acknowledges that not everyone can or wants to adapt their working hours or location. Those who are not office-based are more likely to want to stay working at the same location, and many workers, including key workers, may have no flexibility over when or where they work.

Public transport is well overdue a ticketing revolution. Operators will need to carefully consider how their ticketing products will appeal to a passenger base demanding more flexibility

Neill Birch, SYSTRA’s director of public transport, commented: “Public transport is well overdue a ticketing revolution. Operators will need to carefully consider how their ticketing products will appeal to a passenger base demanding more flexibility. Pricing will need to be carefully management to cover peaks which may be certain days of the week, not just 1mes of the day.”

 
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Author: Passenger Transport

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