Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Space, cleaning and covering up – transport users’ pandemic experiences

27 January 2021

How can transport operators help passengers travel with confidence now and, when the time is right, attract passengers back onboard?

Based on passengers’ experiences of journeys during the pandemic so far and attitudes to travel in the future, Transport Focus’s latest report points to five key areas where transport operators should focus their efforts.

To ensure passengers can make essential journeys with confidence now, operators and governments should:

  1. provide capacity and improve information to support social distancing onboard
  2. maintain improved cleanliness and communicate this effectively
  3. drive up compliance with the rules, especially face coverings (if not exempt).

And then, when the pandemic is behind us, to attract passengers back operators and governments should look to provide:

  1. more flexible fares for less frequent commuters
  2. offers and promotions to encourage lapsed users to return.

Transport Focus research continues to find the majority of passengers using public transport feel safe when travelling. However, less than half of people who have not used public transport say they would feel safe if they made a journey.

This gap between experience and perceptions reflects the efforts public transport operators have made to help their passengers travel with confidence and feel safe. This also highlights the shift in some people’s attitudes and the challenge operators may face when trying to attract people to return to public transport in future.

Transport Focus insight confirms a quick return to the ‘old normal’ should not be expected. In fact many people hope that more space onboard, improved cleanliness and sanitation will remain even post-Covid. Our insight confirms that the pandemic has prompted changes to how people work with many people expect to work from home more and commute to workplaces less often in future.

Transport Focus will continue to share its insight with operators and governments to ensure that transport users’ voices are heard and to help rebuild confidence and attract passengers back to public transport in future.

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