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Car still essential for daily commute, say drivers

Attitudes to mobility may be fast-changing but almost three-quarters (73%) of British workers still believe their vehicle is essential to their daily commute.

Parking-related costs made up nearly a third of the overall cost of motoring.

The majority of British workers say their vehicle remains essential to the daily commute

The research from Alphabet on Brits’ motoring habits and opinions also showed that younger commuters also place importance on driving to work; more than two-thirds (68%) of commuters aged 18-30 with access to a vehicle consider it essential for travel to work.

And the survey also highlighted lack of alternative transport options for drivers; 30% of commuters surveyed who travel by car said it was because there was simply no other alternative means of transport available, particularly in rural areas. However, 41% said they still commuted by car as it was more convenient.

Only around 12% of the UK population with access to a vehicle travel to work by means of public transport, with 7% taking the bus, 2.5% using the train and a further 2.5% using other forms such as London Underground or urban tramways.

Those with shorter commutes opt for ‘active’ forms of travel, such as walking or cycling, which equates to just under 9% of commuters nationally; but over half (58%) of adults do not think that roads in their nearest city or major town are set up appropriately for both cyclists and motor vehicles to share the road safely.

The research also indicated more work needs to be done on promoting cleaner vehicles; only 21% of respondents to the survey have tried an electric vehicle and less than four in 10 (38%) would like to. More than half (61%) of people intending to buy a car in the future expressed they would choose a combustion engine vehicle, with just a quarter (26%) opting for electric or hybrid and 12% undecided.

Looking further forward, the research showed that Brits still need to be convinced about autonomous vehicles, with 30% of adults expressing that they were willing to travel in one currently.

Simon Carr, chief commercial officer for Alphabet GB, said: “Our research shows that stories around the demise of the car as the primary mode of travel for British people have been greatly exaggerated. The reality is that the car is more important than ever for all generations of families, commuters and employees. Clearly the way our vehicles are powered and how they fit into our lives is changing, but while the UK’s relationship with the car is evolving it remains more important than ever in connecting people, communities and businesses.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.