Public transport blackspots and the shocking reality of life without a car has been laid bare by new research. Insurer Direct Line conducted the study which showed that nearly a fifth of the British workforce would be unable to get to their jobs if they didn’t run a car.
The research, conducted in August 2015, revealed that six million Brits would find it virtually impossible to rely on public transport because they live more than five miles from their nearest train station. And one million Britons would be unable to get to their local town or city centre at all using public transport.
Things don’t get much better for non-car drivers even if they don’t live in a transport blackspot.
The researchers found that 1.4m of us would have to endure public transport for more than an hour in order to get to our local town or city. For 3.4m unlucky travellers, getting to a place of work would involve three or more different trains, buses or tubes. And a journey by public transport takes on average 48 per cent longer than driving.
For almost one third of the population, out of hours travel would be completely off the cards: 32 per cent say they can’t travel before 6am on their local buses or trains. And 31 per cent say they can’t get home by public transport if it’s after midnight. Visiting key family members is the hardest hit by the lack of a car with 34 per cent saying they would be unable to do so without a car.
Gus Park, director of motor at Direct Line said: “Public transport works well for many people but there are still a significant number of people who face journeys that are so long or complex that buses and trains aren’t a viable option. Cars are an integral part of our work, social and family lives and being without one is extremely inconvenient. While some may choose to drive rather than use public transport, for others it is simply the only mode of transport that will get them from A to B in reasonable time. With this in mind, we now offer customers our guaranteed hire car cover as standard, so they can rest assured that they will not have to be without a car, should theirs need to be repaired.”
Of those who do take trains, buses or tubes, a third (33 per cent) claimed it was a stressful experience. Londoners get the most frazzled with 41 per cent finding it stressful.
Journey times also suffer if you live in a transport blackspot or don’t have a car. Those living in the east of England appear to be worst served by public transport. Their average journey to their local town would take 25 minutes by train or bus compared with just 13 minutes in a car. The journey time using public transport is also doubled in Wales with journey times up from 12 minutes by car to 24 minutes.
The cost of public transport varies dramatically. London is obviously expensive with the average cost of getting to work coming in at £8.14. But workers in the East Midlands have to pay the most: their average commute to their job costs £8.82. Residents in Northern Ireland came out of the survey the best. They get less stressed by their daily journey and it costs the least too, only £2.81 on average.