Six in 10 drivers ‘would switch to public transport’

Six in 10 drivers ‘would switch to public transport’
New RAC figures suggest the majority of UK drivers would swap their cars for public transport – but only if the services were better.

The annual RAC Report on Motoring found that 59% of drivers would use their car less if public transport improved, compared to just 11% who wouldn’t.

A third (33%) of drivers also say they are now more dependent on their cars than a year ago – the equivalent of 13.2m motorists, up from 27% in 2017.

The RAC called the figures alarming and urged the Government to do more to make public transport affordable and accessible to help reduce dependency and tackle air pollution and congestion.

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The survey of 1,808 drivers found that almost a quarter (24%) claim a deterioration in public transport services is the reason for increased car use. Respondents blame a lack of reliability (44%), higher fares (39%) and cuts in local services (33%) for choosing their cars first.

A recent Campaign for Better Transport report found that bus service funding in England and Wales has been cut by 45% over the last eight years, leaving 3,347 routes reduced or cancelled.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley says that, while officials have spoken of creating better public transport links, in reality little has been done to improve services.

He said: “Our research clearly shows many people don’t think public transport offers a viable alternative to the car for their needs, especially those living in more rural areas.

“People end up driving by default as they feel public transport is either too expensive, non-existent or just doesn’t go where or when they need it to.”

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With regard to increasing public transportation use, Mr Bizley called on the Government to help make it as attractive as possible by ensuring it is reliable, frequent, comfortable and affordable.

He added: “We should also reverse the current trend and make more rather than less cash available for councils and combined authorities to improve bus services, in both urban and, particularly in, rural areas.”

The RAC encourages motorists to make small everyday changes to their lifestyle to help cut car use and reduce congestion and pollution.

This could include walking or cycling when making local journeys, or even swapping one longer car trip every week for a bus or train journey.

Commenting on the research, Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans the walking and cycling charity said: “With the UK’s air pollution a daily headline, there has never been a more important time to shift short journeys away from cars towards healthy, clean alternatives such as getting around by foot or on bike.

“One in four car trips are under two miles – a distance that can be walked or cycled.

“The research by RAC is a reminder to governments at all levels to take urgent action and prioritise the development of safe and high quality walking and cycling routes, alongside engagement programmes, to enable more people to walk and cycle.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

Read the full 30th annual edition of the most comprehensive insight into UK driver opinion in the RAC Report on Motoring 2018.

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