Survey shows Londoners more likely to wear face masks on public transport than in any other area of the country

07 May 2020

A joint survey by Transport Focus and London TravelWatch shows that Londoners place more importance on wearing face masks as they move around the capital than people in other regions of the UK once the current lockdown is lifted.

49% of respondents said that for their own and others’ safety they will be wearing a mask when they are out and about. That compares to the national average of 38%.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 61% of respondents in London planned to walk or cycle more rather than use public transport when travel restrictions are relaxed, more than any other part of the UK
  • 53% of London respondents planned to drive more rather than use public transport – the lowest in the UK compared to 60% nationally
  • 48% of respondents in London plan to work from home more once travel restrictions are relaxed, a higher percentage than anywhere else in the country
  • London respondents were less worried about whether hand sanitiser was available on public transport (79% in London versus 83% nationally) and fewer people in London agreed with the statement ‘I won’t use public transport unless social distancing is in place’ (53% compared to the national average of 62%)
  • Overall, 27% of London respondents would be comfortable returning to public transport once restrictions are relaxed, compared to a national average of 24%

London TravelWatch Director, Emma Gibson commented: ‘Like everyone, Londoners need reassurance in order to feel more confident about getting back onto public transport. But this survey confirms what we’ve already suspected: that people in the capital are the keenest to walk and cycle more once travel restrictions are lifted. Also bucking the trend, Londoners are less likely to say that they will drive more in order to avoid using public transport. We want to see the Mayor and TfL working with councils in London to help make this a reality by opening up more streets to people on foot or cycling and making more roads off-limits to cars once the pandemic is over.’

Emma continued: ‘It is interesting to see that Londoners place more importance on people wearing face masks as they move around the capital than people in other areas around the UK and that a higher percentage of Londoners in the survey say that they would travel without social distancing in place or hand sanitiser available at stations or stops. Perhaps that is because Londoners rely on public transport more than anyone else in the country.’

Further information

  • London TravelWatch is the official watchdog representing the interests of transport users in and around London, and independent of the transport operators and government. London TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority. 
  • Transport Focus is the independent consumer organisation representing the interests of:

               -rail passengers in Great Britain
               -bus, coach and tram users across England outside London
               -all users of England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads (the Strategic Road Network).

  • Follow London TravelWatch on Twitter and YouTube. For more information, please contact the London TravelWatch press office on 07734 055494.
  • Transport Focus spoke to 2,000 people between 1-3 May 2020. Data is nationally representative of Great Britain population. An embargoed copy of the report is available here.
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