Fare rises ‘set to force people back into cars’

Around two million people plan to change the way they travel to work in the next year to avoid public transport fare rises, with many planning to use their cars instead, according to a report.

A survey of 3,000 people by job site reed.co.uk found that 7% planned transport changes purely to avoid fare rises.

An additional 6% planned to move house or job over the next 12 months solely to gain an easier commute to work, the report found.

Workers said they hoped to cut their dependence on underground or metro trains by a third, on mainline trains by half, and on buses or trams by as much as two thirds.

Instead people planned to turn to cars, said the report.

Nationally the rise in people driving to work on their own is set to rise by 6%.

In contrast use of greener or healthier travel options is set to stay the same or even fall next year. Plans for commuting by bike, park-and-ride, or working at home are unchanged for the next 12 months, while levels of car-sharing, walking or running are predicted to go down.

Martin Warnes, managing director of reed.co.uk, said: “Huge numbers of people plan to change how they travel to work next year, as rising fares and increased transport stress kick in.

“Many feel driving to work alone in their cars will be their only option, in spite of growing green and health concerns.”

Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We are appalled that fare increases, as set out in the Government’s plans, could force people off public transport. This survey shows that this is a real cause for concern, and could result in increased road congestion, carbon emissions and air pollution.

“Raising rail and bus fares could also price lower paid employees off public transport and even stop people from accessing jobs.

“We urge the Government to reconsider this policy and to move towards cheaper, more accessible public transport that offers people a genuine alternative to their cars.”

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