“10 million” would give up cars if they had better public transport

A new survey is reporting that more than a quarter (29%) of current drivers – approximately 10 million people – would give up their car altogether if the UK’s public transport network was improved.

Forbes Advisor, the price comparison and financial guidance platform, says that, despite half of adults (48%) with a full driving licence feeling it’s currently too expensive to run a car, more than half (59%) do not think that the UK’s public transport network is robust enough to not need a car.

People in more rural regions are more likely to hold this sentiment, such as residents in Yorkshire and Humberside (74%), the West Midlands (67%) and the South West (66%), compared to just 34% of those in London.

It was discovered that while a fifth (19%) of Brits never use public transport, the majority (81%) do use it to varying degrees, with one in seven (14%) trying to use buses and trains as much as possible.

Half of drivers (53%) reported that they use public transport at least once a month and on average, it was found that UK adults use public transport five days per month (5.2), rising to eight days per month among adults between the ages of 18 to 34.

A quarter (25%) say cheaper fares are the one thing that would enable them to use public transport more often, followed by more available routes (18%), more frequent services (16%) and better reliability (13%).

However, despite cost being the number one reason UK motorists are opting not to use public transport, one in 20 (5%) adults admit that they would still rather pay for a taxi over using a public form of travel.

When discussing walking versus private or public transport, over a third (38%) confirmed that they wouldn’t walk for more than 10 minutes (half a mile) for basic necessities such as going to the local shop, with a third (37%) saying that the furthest they are prepared to walk is less than a quarter of a mile, which according to the British Heart Foundation would take just five minutes, on average.

When the need arises to travel further than they are willing or able to walk, one in two UK adults will still use a private car (53%), followed by just a third (33%) that use a form of public transportation (bus, train, tram or tube).

Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at Forbes Advisor, says: “It’s clear to see that, despite stubbornly high fuel prices, British drivers would still rather drive than use the public transport network.

“In addition to the government’s recent announcement that its £2 cap bus fare scheme will extend until 31 October, it has also been announced that there will be a new £300 million investment to protect bus services into 2025 to keep travel affordable.

“Although these types of schemes are welcome, with the cost of train travel at an all time high[5], it’s clear the government is only scratching the surface. With the average train fare from London to Cardiff costing nearly £100 return, for example, the government needs to launch similar incentive schemes for rail usage, otherwise the cost of living crisis will see train travel become an unaffordable option for many.”

(File picture – Leeds City Council)


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