As the toxic fuel charges and a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles from some town and city centres comes into force, a new survey from Venson Automotive Solutions reveals that over half (51%) of motorists believe that public transport needs to be more affordable to encourage greater numbers of people to leave their car at home. And more than a third of drivers (35%) agree that the public transport infrastructure needs investment to ensure it will be able to adequately support an increase in users.
“The rise in rail fares in 2018 won’t be welcome news for motorists who are now also under pressure to ditch their cars, as cities across the UK look to clamp down on the most polluting vehicles,” comments Simon Staton, Client Management Director, Venson Automotive Solutions. “It’s clear from our survey that motorists don’t think our towns and cities are ready to ban petrol and diesel cars, without offering drivers viable alternatives. It’s not just public transport that needs reinforcing; a further 26% of drivers we surveyed said they would like to see greater investment in cycle highways and pedestrian walkways in cities and towns.”
London has introduced the Toxic Fuel Charge (T-Charge), charging the most polluting vehicles a daily charge of £10 on top of the congestion charge of £11.50. Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Derby and Nottingham have all been advised, by Defra, to impose charges for some polluting diesel vehicles by 2020. In addition, Oxford City Council has proposed a total ban on petrol and diesel cars in the city centre from 2020, to help tackle air pollution. Consequently, 31% of drivers surveyed by Venson say they will think twice about driving in city and town centres that levy a toxicity charge for use of petrol and diesel vehicles.
The Venson findings coincide with research published by Trainline for Business’s newly-launched SME Business Travel Index, which found that ‘travelling by train’ and ‘driving in their own car’ were ranked as the most popular methods of business travel for SMEs, with both being used by over two-thirds (68%) of business travellers in the past 12 months. Of the 26% who thought business travel budgets have declined, 40% felt increasing pressure to restrict the frequency of business travel while 37% were increasingly expected to choose cheaper options of travel.
“Many of those we surveyed want to see significant investment in public transport before a ban comes into place. However, HS2, the rail line designed to connect major UK cities, including London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester won’t be running until 2026; six years after the proposed 2020 ban,” concludes Staton. “Although people support the idea of cleaner cities, they also want affordable access to urban centres, which means many feel the bans are coming too soon.”