Transport User Voice – March 2021 – Chief executive’s editorial

25 February 2021

Next steps out of lockdown

So, we have the beginnings of a sense of how we emerge from shadow of the pandemic. The next few weeks and months will still probably be a difficult time. Vaccines, variants, local outbreaks and our behaviours will govern what will actually happen.

Transport Focus will continue to talk those who are moving around, whether it be by bus, rail, car, lorry or however. Our travel during Covid-19 survey, currently running every fortnight, can quickly be moved back to weekly if needed. It also covers those who are not moving around so we can track attitudes and thoughts on transport in the terms of Government messaging overall.

Our latest survey on cleanliness used our transport user community to find out what they thought about the cleaning measures on public transport. It was interesting to see how reassuring the information on cleaning efforts could be. It’s a good start but other factors need to be tackled along with it to really build up confidence to travel again.

Our data hub has now been expanded to make it even easier to access and interrogate this information. Our ongoing, online Transport User Panel will allow us to continue to examine issues quickly. We can probe issues in more detail by using surveys with more questions. For example, we will soon publish a detailed report on the potential return to bus travel.

If a mass return to public transport is allowed there may be Government advertising campaigns encouraging people to give it a go. Tracking and assessing reactions to those campaigns will be vital in ensuring those messages land well.

So, we are ready to help get the country moving again when the time is right. Confidence, especially in using public transport, will be key. While big messages could help this may be a very tactical effort as each returning passenger will tell others about the experience. Social media will play a role. We will ensure the flow of anecdotes, which are useful, vital and immediate, are underpinned by evidence.


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