Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Results of my Southampton Driver poll

Its a bit of a shame that I could only get 79 responses, however I can understand why people would be reluctant - unless they know the blogger it might look a little odd that an individual would run such a poll. Given that this is a small poll I have to first mention the caveat that it may not be representative of locals. I'd like to see with the Daily Echo or Southampton City Council do a more in-depth survey as they have the power to extrapolate as well as reaching a higher number of people.

The aim was to determine distance, area, and if the driver in question had considered alternatives such as buses or cycling. The majority of responses came through Twitter. I know this due to the many retweets I got thanks to the likes of Edmund King (head of the AA - who very kindly also retweeted my cycling poll), and many people who replied to me via the site. I also managed to get a few from Facebook to join in, yet Twitter users seem more involved with research, surveys and petitions I notice.

The majority of people were what you might call "young", being under 35
Odd that more didn't class themselves as Pedestrian... a reasonable amount admit to car-pooling, too

I asked drivers what distances they drove if they commuted to work via their car. 29% drove a distance that could easily be done by bicycle (disability is an obvious exception). If the buses were cheaper I could see many more using them for the longer distance.

Only one person responded that they drove over 30 miles. 23 people using alternatives to the car is still pretty good however. I also asked motorcyclists what their commute distances were, but so few responded its not even worth putting the pie chart up.

Free parking might be a reason so many people still drive. Despite the many articles in the press stating parking issues it seems possible to me that much of the parking available to motorists is still free. 45 people have access to free parking provided by their employer. Parking, in theory, makes driving easier, and that dissuades bus use and cycling.
Its encouraging that people, no matter how small a group, have considered the alternatives. But its clear to myself and others that things conspire to stop people taking these. I know for a fact that the buses are expensive in Southampton. Even with monthly tickets you're still talking £56. That is over £600 a year.

Cycling is free (once you've acquired a bike obviously). So what are the reasons people give for not riding a bike to work, or a friends:
You have to admire people for admitting they're a bit lazy. 
Regards cycling - in the "other" category:
- one person suggested "bicycles are for children" (tell that to Bradley)
- one person said they need to travel with children
- "Bad experience previously, Saw an accident once involving a cyclist and a bus. It put me off cycling on the road"
- Traveling in from out of town (this is fair enough)
- and one person said they're a disabled driver (again fair enough)

Why don't people take the bus? In the other category:
- "smelly people with colds" (I had to laugh, same respondent who said "bicycle are for children")
- Another person also said "passengers smell"
- "Interchanges are poor, journey via public transport to work would actually be quicker but involves 2 trains, both of which run hourly, and miss each other by 5 mins so results in waiting at soton central for 55 mins each way!"
- "My ex is a bus driver crazy bitch who i never want to run into"
- "Got to take a lot of kit with me" (again this is fair enough!)

The joke responses aside (they still answered the other questions) perhaps there is still opportunity in the alternatives - even motorcycling as an option to reduce your fuel consumption and mitigate parking issues. But we will never know until someone with clout asks, and then more importantly acts.

The rest of the responses are available to view in summary HERE if you're interested.

1 comment:

  1. My employer provides parking in various carparks. Employees are required to have a permit which costs money (depending on pay grade), but conveniently one of the carparks (which is private and has an arrangement with my employer) also provides parking spaces privately on an annual or monthly basis.

    The annual cost of a private parking space is roughly £1000 more than the cost of the employee permits, so we can see my employer is subsidising city-centre parking to the tune of £1000 per driver. Or, if you like, my colleagues who drive (and hold permits) are receiving a benefit-in-kind of £1000 each in addition to the salaries we all get.

    Despite my employer's stated sustainability policies, my colleagues are effectively getting paid more because they've chosen to use a polluting congesting form of transport to get to work.

    In comparison there is the bike-to-work-scheme and a public transport loan scheme, but none of these cost the employer anything, aside from an administrative overhead.

    We do have bike lockers and a few showers, so maybe I should be grateful for that...