Public transport initiatives fail

16 July 2007

  • Half of UK population has never used a bus
  • Car use still rising, despite environmental concerns
  • Call for more public transport improvements

Efforts to get us out of our cars and onto public transport have failed, a new survey says

Initiatives to persuade more people to use public transport have had little success, according to a new survey.

A study by the RAC Foundation monitored car and public transport use from 1993 to 2005.

It discovered that the vast majority of people who have increased their use of public transport since 1993 were already using it before then, and that few people who had never been on public transport have been persuaded to try it.

Half of the population is reported to have never used a bus.

In the same period, the number of people driving a car has risen steadily, as has the frequency of drivers using their cars.

The percentage of the UK's population with a valid driving licence rose over the test period from 67% to 72%, and these motorists were driving 17% more miles than in 1993.

The only notable exception to these trends was in London, where the congestion charge was introduced in February 2003.

Bus and bicycle use in London has risen by between 40% and 50% - although the number of people regularly using either mode of transport instead of their cars is only up by around 5%.

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