‘End of the road’ for Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking seems to have reached the end of the road, according to an AA/Populus survey.

The number of drivers unlikely to stop for hitchhikers has risen from 75% to 91% in the last two years, the poll of 16,850 AA members showed.

Just 1% of drivers have hitched themselves in the last year and only 1% said they were “very likely” to stop for someone thumbing a lift.

More than three in five said they had never hitched, including 75% of females, 93% of 18-24 year olds and 88% of 25-34 year olds.

But as few as 48% of those aged 55-65 and 52% of those over 65 have never tried it.

Drivers living in Yorkshire and Humberside were least likely to have hitchhiked (67% have never done it), closely followed by north-west England (66%) and the East Midlands (66%). Only 48% of drivers in Northern Ireland had never thumbed a lift.

Drivers in East Anglia and north-west England, where only 5% were very or quite likely to stop to give someone a lift, were the ones most reluctant to pick up those hitching.

Those wanting a ride would do best to try their luck in Wales where as many as 12% of drivers were very or quite likely to pick them up.

AA president Edmund King, a former hitchhiker, said: “Sadly we appear to have reached the end of the road for hitchhiking. Drivers have given the practice the thumbs down.

“The older generation are more likely to have thumbed a lift and hence are more likely to pick up hitchhikers. Perhaps cheaper coach travel, growth in car ownership, online lift-sharing sites and personal safety fears have all contributed to the decline in hitchhiking.”

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