THE Campaign for Better Transport is predicting that few longer-term changes to travel patterns are likely after the pandemic, quoting a survey of transport users carried out in March.
If the survey is right, public transport will continue to provide almost half the journeys, with cars in a narrowly dominant position, but only by one or two percentage points. For example, shopping trips would be made by car in 50 per cent of cases and by public transport in 49 per cent of them, which was the case before lockdowns began.
But the CBT points out some journey patterns could change. Before the pandemic 65 per cent of employed adults travelled to work every day, but this could fall to 53 per cent, with the gap filled by more home working.
The survey asked what would encourage respondents to increase their use of public transport in the future. Less crowding (30 per cent) came top, followed by cheaper tickets (29 per cent), better routes (29 per cent), and more frequent (26 per cent) and punctual (22 per cent) services. Simpler payment options (such as the ability to ‘touch in’ ) would encourage 15 per cent of respondents, with 12 per cent saying better access to real time information would make them choose public transport more often.
The Campaign’s chief executive Paul Tuohy said: ‘Cars are the main contributor to carbon emissions and lethal air pollution, so returning to a car-dominated transport network is simply not an option post-Covid. Our research highlights that unless the Government does more to promote public transport and encourage its use, we cannot hope to reduce harmful emissions or build back in a way that is fair and sustainable.’
In response, rhe Rail Delivery Group has repeated its call for fares reform with more flexible fares being intoduced, such as part-time season tickets.