CSO survey finds half of people don't use buses or trains

CSO survey finds half of people don't use buses or trains
Just 2.2% of people use the train five times per week, with half claiming they never use buses or trains, a new CSO survey has found. File Picture.

Half of Irish people do not use buses or trains, showing the battle that lies ahead in shifting the public mindset towards the increased use of public transport ahead of their cars.

In its National Travel Survey for 2019, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) found 48.5% never use bus services, while 51% never use rail services, including mainline rail, DART and Luas. 

When asked what would encourage them to use public transport more often, respondents cited a need for more direct routes, more reliable timetables, better value and greater frequency of services.

Trips by car accounted for close to three-quarters of all journeys in 2019, while walking accounted for 13.5%. Just 5% of journeys were by bus. 

Nearly one-quarter of journeys in 2019 were work-related, while more than a fifth were for shopping.

There was enthusiasm for cycling among respondents, with one-third saying they would be more encouraged to cycle if there was greater availability of safe cycling routes. One-fifth said the health benefits of cycling would motivate them to move to two wheels.

Weekdays were the busiest days, with the average number of journeys carried out on weekdays being slightly higher than the average number of journeys taken at weekends. 

Despite climate concerns and less public transport use, carpooling remains unpopular

Tuesday and Wednesday were the busiest days, with an average of 3.3 journeys taken on those days, the survey found.

The average journey distance in 2019 was 13.7 kilometres and, on average, took 23.3 minutes to complete, the CSO said.

For those living in Dublin, their average journey distance is now slightly shorter than it was in 2016. It is now 9.5km, down from 9.8km in 2016, though the average journey time has remained at just under 25 minutes.

And, despite suggestions that car pooling could help to cut our carbon footprint, almost two-thirds of us drive solo. Just 17% of journeys were two-person journeys, and just 3.5% involved five or more people.

One-in-five aged 18 years and over use bus services frequently, with just 6.3% taking the bus at least five times a week. 

Use of rail services, which includes mainline rail, DART and Luas, is less frequent, with just 7.2% of respondents using rail services a number of times a week. Just 2.2% of respondents travelled by rail at least five times a week.

Nearly seven-in-ten aged 18 years and over say they walk a number of times a week, with 38.5% walking at least five times per week. 

Cycling is less frequent with 6.8% of persons surveyed cycling a number of times a week, the survey found.

When asked what would encourage them to walk more, a third cited safer walking environment, while one in five would like better infrastructure, such as more footpaths. 

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