Motorists being driven out of cars

* Survey shows public transport shift * Fuel costs largely to blame * More people say they'll use buses and trains...

11 July 2008

Motorists being driven out of cars

A new study has shown that rising fuel costs are likely to drive motorists out of their cars.

The study was conducted by FirstGroup, Britain's biggest operator of bus and railway services. Almost half of the 2220 people surveyed believe there will be a switch away from cars to public transport in the next five to 10 years.

FirstGroup's recent passenger figures tend to back up the prediction - its record figures have shown a significant rise in passengers using buses and trains in the last three months.

Since a similar poll in November, public transport use has gone up by 9% to 39%. Men in particular believe that travelling patterns will change, with 45% predicting a rise in public transport use, compared with 35% in the last poll.

According to the survey, 88% thought that the increasing cost of motoring would persuade more people to leave their cars at home, a 10% increase since November.

FirstGroup's chief executive, Sir Moir Lockhead, said he thought the shifting public attitudes were driven by the rising fuel prices.

He told The Herald newspaper: 'I think there is a general feeling that we have got to conserve energy. There is a more environmental feel to the poll than I expected, and that is also driven by the awareness that all of us have to try to reduce our carbon footprint.'