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Wednesday, 26 January, 2000, 00:16 GMT
Drivers 'won't switch to public transport'

Jam Drivers are keener on their cars than a year ago


Efforts by the government to get people out of their cars and onto public transport are failing, according to a major report on motoring from the RAC.

The survey of 1,563 motorists found fewer than two in five drivers (39%) said they would use their cars less if public transport was better.

This compared with a figure of 43% in a similar survey last year and 45% the year before, said the report.

Motorists were asked to identify what they believed were the actual savings in time and money their cars gave them over public transport.

They said the average duration of commuting journeys was three times longer using public transport, and that they saved an average of about an hour a day by using their car.

View from behind the wheel
81% of motorists never use buses, compared with 65% in 1988
75% never use trains, compared with 58% in 1988
Only 4% of motorists use the bus to commute to work
Only 5% use the train
Journeys to school are almost all done by car
Car-ownership has increased among non-working groups including students, the unemployed, carers and older age groups


But the report showed that motorists are conscious that current levels of congestion reduced the advantage of the car.

For commuting journeys, it was estimated that congestion added an extra 47% to journey times and 91% to the school run times.

The report estimated that congestion was costing Britain's motorists around 23bn each year - a figure equating to 800 per motorist.

In a foreword to the report, Minister of Transport Lord Macdonald said: "Cars have revolutionised the way we live...but the way we use our cars has a price - for the economy, the environment and our health.

"The report shows that many motorists recognise the need to tackle congestion and would move to public transport if it were comfortable and attractive enough."

John Prescott on a bus Off the buses: Not what Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott wanted
The report also showed younger drivers are twice as likely to have been driven by someone high on drugs than by someone over the drink-drive limit.

Some 20% of motorists would vote for another political party if there were significant rises in petrol prices.

Half of all drivers admit deliberately to breaking 30mph limits.

Eighty-one percent of drivers believe drivers who are banned should be forced to take the driving test again before going back on the road.

Graeme Potts of the RAC said: "To stimulate a change in behaviour and encourage more people to switch to public transport, we would like to see real incentives for changes in journey patterns.

"Initiatives could include setting companies targets for reducing car dependency, encouraging the use of environmentally-efficient cars, and increased use of teleconferencing and home working."

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See also:
01 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Transport Bill gets moving
01 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Labour MPs promise air traffic opposition
18 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Prescott defends transport plans

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