Combined Authority publishes latest results of transport survey, findings point to increase in public confidence in using public transport

Findings from the latest research into the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on work and travel patterns has been published by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Findings from the latest research into the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on work and travel patterns has been published by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. 

The findings suggest that there remains a preference to use private car over public transport. However, there are signs West Yorkshire residents are becoming more confident about returning to public transport. As a result, the survey results further underscore the need for long-term funding solution to increase capacity and reliability of the transport network while maintaining social distancing.  

The Combined Authority has been carrying out research to understand how the pandemic has changed working and travel patterns and to start to assess the longer-term trends that will influence planning on the transport network.   

The latest survey saw 700 residents comprising a representative sample of West Yorkshire’s population interviewed over the telephone on various topics to provide further detail on travel trends.   

 Key findings from this survey in comparison to research conducted in June included:   

  • An increase (24% to 34%) of respondents who said they were not at all concerned about using public transport.  
  • Fewer (47% to 35%) respondents reported they were working from home compared to the first wave of the survey; however, the results provide further evidence of a sustained preference for home working in the long-term, with 63% of respondents indicating they are likely to work at home more often than before COVID-19. 
  • shift (61% to 69%) in intention towards car travel into city centres in the coming weeks, moving away from bus and significantly away from train. 

 Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said:  

The Combined Authority and transport operators have done a huge amount through additional cleaning and social distancing measures to give people confidence to return to public transport and it is heartening to see that is starting to have an impact. 

“The reduction in the number of people working from home also suggests that people are beginning to return to offices but the survey also points to long-term trends on greater home working that will impact on travel patterns and we are working with operators to ensure ticket options reflect these changes. 

The growing number of people driving into city centres is a warning that further work is needed, with long-term support from the Government, to ensure there is sufficient capacity and confidence in the public transport network to avoid an unsustainable rise in car journeys causing congestion and lower air quality. 

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said:  

The results from this survey further support our case for long-term funding to increase capacity and reliability on the public transport network as more people return to work and schools reopen. 

“Bus services are hugely important to the West Yorkshire transport network, providing a vital link to jobs, education and services and are one of the keys to this region’s recovery from the pandemic. 

We continue to urge the Government to work with the Combined Authority to deliver long-term support for the bus network to ensure we can maximise capacity on the network while maintaining social distancing.” 

The survey took place between 12 and 19 August 2020. 

Full survey results including results of previous waves are available here