Almost Half Now Facing Longer Commutes Than They Did 12 Months Ago

Almost half of Irish motorists are spending longer on commuting to work or their place of education than they were last year, a recent survey has found.

In response to an AA Car Insurance survey of over 6,500 Irish drivers, 30.29% of those surveyed indicated that they now spend more time on their commute to and from work than they were 12 months ago. Meanwhile, a further 16.04% stated that this was somewhat true of their current commute, depending largely on traffic levels.

Meanwhile, the survey also found indicators of a growing reliance on the private car, with 20.42% of respondents stating that they were more likely to use a car for their morning commute than they would have been 12 months ago.

“In recent years the number of those in employment has steadily returned from recession era levels. While this is certainly a positive, it appears that the infrastructure hasn’t yet caught up to the increase volume of people commuting during peak hours and with many public transport options operating at peak capacity during the main morning and evening rush, many are spending longer commuting than they previously have due to increased road traffic” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. “One of the major challenges facing Ireland currently is the fact that we have, over several generations and governments, established an overreliance on the private car due to underinvestment in public transport and cycling infrastructure. Many of those who do drive are conscious of the negative climate and environmental implications of relying so heavily on a car, but often view the alternatives as too unreliable for them to rely on.”

While the survey indicated that car reliance was on the rise among respondents, it also found that motorists were willing to switch to public transport if they felt it was reliable.

When asked about their commuting habits, 35.26% of those surveyed strongly agreed that a lack of reliable public transport had left them reliant on a car to get to work, even though they would prefer not to use their car. Meanwhile, a further 13.63% indicated that they were somewhat in agreement with this prompt.

“You only need to look at how full LUAS and major city bus routes are during rush hour, as well as the growing number of those who cycle as their primary mode of transport, to see that where you provide viable alternatives to the car people are more than willing to use them,” Faughnan added. “Project Ireland 2040 includes a number of good initiatives such as a LUAS for Cork, a Metro for Dublin and plans for significant increases in funding for cycling infrastructure. However, we need to see these efforts carried out in a timely manner and, irrespective of whoever makes up the next government, a change in attitudes at Leinster House where too often the go to idea in response to congestion has been to simply build more road space.”

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