Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is being urged to give the public all the details of risks of travel by road compared to public transport, rather than just concentrating on potential issues around Coronavirus.
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety has written to him warning that, while road traffic is now almost back to pre-lockdown levels, passenger numbers on bus, tube and train are still well down. It says this increases congestion and emissions, and works against government’s objectives to promote walking and cycling and safer roads, and to reboot the economy.
Research by RSSB has shown that, even taking account of coronavirus, travel by rail is still safer for the individual than travel by road. This is without taking account of the dangers to other road users, the health impacts and the wider consequences.
There is considerable public confusion about the risks of using public transport, current service levels and travel arrangements. PACTS believes the Government’s previous advice to drive rather than use public transport needs to be dispelled.
PACTS calls for the government to launch a major public transport information campaign. This should include clear information on the full risks of using public transport compared to those of travel by car.
For example, a recent study in Paris found that none of the city’s 150 coronavirus clusters from early May to early June originated on the city’s transit systems. This suggests a real misconception about the dangers of Covid-19 on public transport.
PACTS also supports the call from Transport Focus for the government to ditch the planned 1.6% fares increase in January 2021.