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Commuters deserting public transport to drive to work

Further research indicating that commuters are deserting public transport and taking to their cars in droves has been published.

The data shows a clear drop in interest for available parking spaces at train stations, compared to a rise in demand for city centre parking near offices and work places

Analysis by online parking platform YourParkingSpace.co.uk of its latest booking data shows a clear drop in interest for available parking spaces at train stations, compared to a rise in demand for city centre parking near offices and workplaces.

Bookings for the former were down on average 46% in September compared to pre-lockdown in February. In contrast, city centre car parks were up 19%.

Key examples include bookings for normally busy stations such as Ebbsfleet International Station (down 59%) and for Ashford International Station (down 45%). But bookings for city centre car parks have boomed, such as in Brighton city centre (up 98%), in Edinburgh (up 43%) and in London (up 28%).

The new research also appears to confirm the results of a survey carried out by YourParkingSpace.co.uk at the beginning of lockdown when half of those surveyed said they were less likely to use public transport.

The survey of 3,000 people also discovered that four in 10 people were more likely to drive.

In fact, other independent research has highlighted that road congestion is now higher in certain areas than it was last year while there have also been millions fewer train journeys.

Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk, said: “Where we work, and how we commute to work, has fundamentally changed. While lots of people are still working from home, many of those venturing to the office are avoiding the train and trying to get as close as possible to the workplace using their own vehicle.”

It’s the latest research to underscore changing travel patterns as drivers continue to avoid public transport where possible following the pandemic.

Research published by Alphabet last month has indicated that there could be a resurgence of the company car; its survey found more than a third (37%) of employees would now consider using a company car following the pandemic, to enable them to travel safely, whereas prior to lockdown many favoured a cash benefit.

The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) also pointed out in September that the company car remains a highly effective tool for business – and in many instances, the only viable transport option.

And data published by the RAC in September showed that the morning rush hour is now back in full swing.

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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.

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