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‘Unreliable public transport’ pushing drivers towards car ownership

Half of drivers want to own a car as they feel unable to rely on public transport after recent strike action by rail workers, according to Auto Trader research.

Its latest consumer survey of 2,000 drivers shows that the unreliability of public transport is a key reason for owning a car for 50% of car drivers.

The findings come as RMT rail strikes disrupt the efforts of commuters to return to work after the festive holidays.

Erin Baker, editorial director at Auto Trader, said: “Many people simply don’t have the option to work from home, so rely heavily on public transport.

“But with public transport being so frequently disrupted, it’s not surprising that more and more drivers say it is their main reason for car ownership. If the strike action carries on, which is looking likely, I would expect the share to rise even further.”

Auto Trader said the share of drivers opting to own cars due to unreliable public transport has risen since February 2020, when 36% of drivers cited it as their main reason for car ownership.

While ‘needing to get around’ (77%) and ‘freedom and independence’ (69%) are still the main reasons for car ownership, Auto Trader’s research showed that the strikes have propelled ‘unreliable public transport’ into the third most popular reason for car ownership, above enjoyment of driving.

According to eBay Motor Group research, nearly half of all new and used car buyers expect to make a purchase at some point in 2023, despite the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

Improved dealership experiences, more electric vehicle (EV) range and reduced prices and waiting times on new cars are features car buyers would like to see in 2023, however.

Demand from car buyers is said to be on a “downward trend” after retailers experienced declining sales leads in December.

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