Commuters “would pay more” to protect environment

A new survey is suggesting that half the population would pay more for travel in order to help protect the environment.

Research of 2,000 people by PricewaterhouseCoopers says that 50% of respondents said they are willing to pay more in travel costs to maintain the environmental improvements, such as reduced pollution, seen during the pandemic.

PwC believes commuters on lower salaries are more willing to pay higher transport costs to support the introduction of environmental measures, with those earning £30,000 and under were most likely (54%) to support paying more compared to those earning £60-90,000 (45%).  The research also found that self-employed people who have had to stop working due to COVID-19 said they were more likely to be willing to pay more (63%) compared to those employed and still working through the pandemic (43%).

The research also found that, compared to last year, more people who responded said they are confident that COVID-19 will not have a long-lasting effect on how they travel on public transport, with seven in ten (70%) saying that they will travel in the same way as they did before the pandemic. This is an increase from five in ten (55%) at the start of the pandemic in 2020. 

Increased cleaning and availability of hand sanitiser are the top measures commuters want post-pandemic, with over half of people (59% and 58% respectively) saying these are important once restrictions are lifted. Fewer than half want enforced mask wearing, while others say they’d travel at less busy times (38%) or walking rather than using public transport.

Grant Klein, PwC’s transport leader, commented, “Our research shows a clear public mandate to sustain the positive environmental effects we have seen during the pandemic even at a financial cost to them. A key challenge for national and local government is how to accelerate environmental schemes like ultra low emission zones across the UK. They will also need to address changes in the modes of travel passengers have available to them, with a growth in cycling and the introduction of new modes such as e-scooters. While people expect a significant shift back to normality after the pandemic, travel patterns and plans for greater flexibility have already changed because of Covid. Contactless payments and flexible part-time tickets will become more relevant to travellers as a hybrid of remote and on-site working becomes the norm.”

(Picture – Yay Images)

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