Transport Focus Covid-19 return to rail travel – latest research summary (27 September 2021)

Passenger transport watchdog, Transport Focus has continued surveying 2,000 people over the past year, to gauge attitudes on public transport use during the Covid-19 pandemic. The latest results are available here. We have been regularly summarising the figures for Community Rail News over the past year.

  • Among those making journeys (by any mode) journeys increasing proportions have made journeys to visit friends and family and for other leisure reasons.
  • Around nine in ten of those who used a train or a bus in the last seven days felt safe doing so; a finding which is relatively consistent with those from previous weeks. 63% of those who haven’t made a journey by train in the last seven days say that they would feel safe making a journey by this mode of transport, and 57% of those who have not used a bus say the same about how they would feel if they had to make a bus journey. These figures rise to 75% and 62% respectively if you look at the views of those who regularly used trains or buses before March 2020.
  • 38% say that they are as comfortable using trains now as they were before the pandemic, and 37% say the same about using buses.  Approximately a further 20% in each case say that they expect to feel as comfortable using trains or buses as they did prior to the pandemic within the next six months. Those who previously used buses or trains regularly, or who have used trains or buses in the last seven days are more likely than others to be feeling as comfortable doing so now as they did prior to the pandemic.
  • Just over two thirds (68 per cent) of those who used to commute by rail (and who do not have to physically attend their place of work) say they will commute by rail in Autumn/Winter 2021.
  • There remains a significant drop in those who say they will commute five days a week –from 42 per cent pre Covid-19 to just 6 per cent for the rest of 2021.
  • 57 per cent of future rail commuters, who will travel to their place of work for fewer than five days in a typical week, agree that they expect to work mainly from home and only travel into their workplace when required. 44 per cent say that they expect to have a routine commuting pattern.