Transport User Voice – August 2021 – Easing restrictions

26 July 2021

What people think about travelling

“I sat on a train where there were people standing in the aisles. I’ve had a jab but I still felt anxious about it… and people were not wearing their masks properly.” Younger male passenger

This is just one of the comments Transport Focus heard in its research undertaken in late May, into how people feel about returning to public transport as restrictions begin to ease.

We wanted to understand what people think about social distancing on public transport as restrictions were lifted if that would change their travel habits and how safe they would feel. We used this insight to help inform the Government’s social distancing review.

Significantly, some said that even if the government lifted all restrictions, they would not rush to change their cautious behaviours – they would wait and see.

In the focus groups, when pressed, people generally accepted that keeping social distancing on public transport will become increasingly difficult. If they had to make a journey, such as getting to work on time, people said they would be more likely to accept reduced social distancing.

Here’s what some people had to say about social distancing and restrictions lifting:

“I am a bit apprehensive about it, so when I do go I’ll make sure I don’t travel in peak times to give me peace of mind… I’m just a bit nervous at the moment, but I have had my two jabs which gives you a bit of confidence.” Female/Older

“Now that the majority of people who would have suffered are vaccinated, I’d be a lot more comfortable cracking on and getting on with life… it’s time to get back to normal now.” Male/Younger

“I’ll stick with public transport, it’s so much quicker… I’ll happily travel on public transport.” Female/Younger

“Now that restrictions are lifting it’s hard to socially distance, if you’re trying to avoid people it’s hard because they’re not in the same frame of mind.” Male/Older

Transport Focus is continuing to speak to people throughout the summer to track their attitudes to changes in restrictions, and as more people return to public transport.


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