As the window for climate action narrows, travel chaos is pushing people back to cars. Research from Auto Trader found that more than half of prospective car buyers in the UK were considering purchasing a private vehicle because of increasingly unreliable public transport.
Not only will this have an impact on progress towards reductions in emissions, congestion and pollution, it also results in much higher costs for those who must buy, keep and run a vehicle. For commuters, travel chaos means they are simply unable to ensure that they can get to work at all, let alone on time. However, turning back to the car means incurring record prices for second hand vehicles, alongside high parking tariffs, fuel costs and potential emission zone charges.
For those living or working in more rural locations, public transport options are already limited. If these become even more unreliable, there is no choice but the car if work is not within walking or cycling distance.
Whilst electric car ownership is on the rise, with more than one in ten new vehicles purchased in 2022 being electric, this isn’t a feasible option for all. There are naturally less second hand electric vehicles available and a new one comes at a price. Furthermore, some areas of the country are lacking the charging infrastructure to support increased EV ownership.
Amidst the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the cost of a car is something that many could do without. Despite this, it seems that public transport is unlikely to improve anytime soon. As a result, employers have a great opportunity to step up to the challenge of supporting employees with the daily commute.
Assistance with the journey to and from work might include organising a ride sharing programme to limit the number of cars needed or funding the provision of a daily coach or minibus shuttle service that gives employers means to avoid public transport and the need to use the car.
This can be particularly beneficial for those working in sectors such as food manufacturing, care, retail, logistics and hospitality, many of whom may need to get to locations every day not easily reached by public transport. A number of these sectors are also struggling to retain and recruit staff, meaning that a transport offering could make businesses stand out from competitors and attract people to the industry.
Whilst travel disruption is not the fault of employers, those who look to provide some form of improved transport provision will reap the benefits of a more productive workforce, have an extra incentive when recruiting and be supporting staff to overcome the commuting chaos, save money and leave the car behind.”
More info on Kura staff shuttles here