Anger about public transport driving rise in car dependency, RAC survey finds

One in three motorists say they are more reliant on their cars than they were 12 months ago

Neil Lancefield
Friday 21 September 2018 01:07 BST
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One in four blamed a deterioration in public transport for using their car more often.
One in four blamed a deterioration in public transport for using their car more often. (Getty)

Anger over public transport services is fuelling a rise in car dependency, according to a new survey.

One in three (33 per cent) motorists say they are more reliant on their cars than they were 12 months ago, compared with just 27 per cent in 2017, an RAC study found.

The motoring firm's annual Report on Motoring shows car dependency had been dropping steadily since 2012 but the latest figures show the UK is more wedded to the car than ever.

The top reasons people gave for using their cars more were having a greater need to transport family members (34 per cent), having a longer commute (32 per cent) and family and friends having moved further away (27 per cent).

One in four (24 per cent) blamed a deterioration in public transport for using their car more often. The complaints by this group focused on reliability (44 per cent), rising fares (39 per cent) and cuts in services (33 per cent).

"At a time when there is so much effort being put into tackling air quality issues and congestion, it is alarming to see that dependency on the car is actually the highest we have ever seen," RAC chief engineer David Bizley said​.

Department for Transport figures show the number of local bus passenger journeys in England fell by 70 million (1.5 per cent) year-on-year in 2016/2017.

Rail passenger journeys during 2017/18 decreased by 24,000 (1.4 per cent) compared with the previous 12 months, according to Office of Rail and Road statistics.

Punctuality on the rail network is at a 12-year low and commuters face an increase of up to 3.2% in the cost of season tickets from January.

Six in 10 (59 per cent) of the 1,808 motorists surveyed by the RAC stated they would use their car less if public transport was better, with only 11 per cent disagreeing with this statement.

Mr Bizley said: "Many people don't think public transport offers a viable alternative to the car for their needs, especially those living in more rural areas. We need greater investment in public transport so that where feasible, drivers have an alternative to sitting in traffic and contributing to poor air quality and congestion.

"The key to this must surely be making public transport as attractive as possible by ensuring it is reliable, frequent, comfortable and affordable."

Press Association

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