COVID anxiety changing commuter travel habits, according to research

commutersAround 6 in 10 London commuters will change the way they travel when the return to work begins, research by Addison Lee claims, with COVID-19 safety concerns changing transport demand patterns.

In a survey of 1,000 commuters across the capital’s 32 boroughs, 56 percent of commuters who travel into London said that they plan to do their journey to work differently, with many already clear about changes they’ll make:

  • 55 percent plan to change the time of their commute to avoid peak hours
  • 49 percent plan to use their own vehicle – up from 23 percent pre-pandemic
  • 28 percent plan to complete at least part of their journey on foot
  • 40 percent plan to use private hire vehicles as part of their journey

The survey suggests that planned changes to the commute stem from a lack of confidence in public transport amid continued safety concerns. 69 percent of London commuters say that, even with the introduction of face coverings, taking public transport to and from work makes them feel anxious, while 72 percent say that they will avoid using the tube during their commute unless essential when they return to work. A further 70 percent also claim they are concerned at the thought of colleagues using public transport.

Liam Griffin, Addison Lee’s CEO, said: “Our research shows a clear shift away from commuting on public transport due to safety concerns. To ensure that all modes of transport can play their part in helping Londoners back to work safely and in a manner that supports the environment, we need a common set of safety standards that give consumers confidence to travel, no matter who the provider is. Addison Lee wants to work with the London COVID-19 Transition Board and other stakeholders to agree this and help our capital back to work.”

The proposed safety standards are based on the research claims into what additional safety measures could give London commuters greater peace-of-mind when travelling on all forms of transport in the future. When asked what safety measures would make them feel more confident about travelling to and from work, the survey found:

  • 80 percent said Private Hire Vehicles should be allowed to install safety screens to protect drivers and passengers
  • 69 percent said regular disinfection of public transport
  • 65 percent said the enforcement of social distancing
  • 65 percent said the installation of partition screens in trains, buses and tubes
  • 62 percent said readily available hand sanitiser on public transport