Commuters ditch rail for road

Rail strikes could see thousands of people make a long-term switch to cars.

February’s Startline Used Car Tracker found that 78% of those questioned said they would use their cars instead of relying on rail transport in the future.

Meanwhile, 35% are walking more, 19% are using other public transport such as buses and trams, 13% are using a traditional bicycle and 11% are travelling by electric bike.

Overall, 67% said that recent industrial action mean that they will use the train less in the future.

Paul Burgess, CEO at Startline Motor Finance, said: “Despite longer journey times, hundreds of miles of roadworks resulting in congestion and traffic jams, our research suggests the rail strikes are convincing more people to travel by car. And, longer term that can’t be a good thing for the economy.

“It would be worrying if rail-to-car switching by travellers develops into a long-term trend. This would obviously be bad news for clean air strategies in cities and for urban congestion in general. To us, these findings underline the need to resolve the rail dispute as soon as possible.”

The Used Car Tracker research also found that demand for used petrol cars had risen to 40% among buyers, while electric fell to 14%.