More than a fifth of European Union (EU) motorists would not use their cars any less, even if dramatic improvements were made to local public transport systems, a European Commission-funded opinion poll has revealed.
Conducted by pollsters Gallup among 25,767 people across the EU, the survey revealed that 22% of those favouring cars over other transport means would remain loyal to their vehicles, come what may. Gallup called this “a remarkable proportion” of those polled.
And it is east Europeans who are generally more impervious to the calls of the public transport systems that they were often forced to use in Communist times.
Hungarian drivers were the least likely to drive less, with 44% saying they would stick to cars, whatever the alternatives.
This was followed by 42% of Estonians, 41% of Bulgarians, 40% of Latvians, 38% of Lithuanians, 33% of Romanians and 31% of Poles.
By contrast, hotter Mediterranean country drivers were keener to abandon their vehicles, with only 9% of (Greek) Cypriots saying they would stick with their cars, whatever the alternative, followed by 10% of Spanish motorists, 12% of Slovenians (an ex-communist anomaly here), 13% of Portuguese, 14% of Greeks, and 14% of Maltese drivers.
British drivers are around the European average in this regard – at 19%. The two most popular reasons for being prepared to drive less were better public transport schedules (regularity and operating hours) at 29% and better connections to regular destinations (28%).
Gallup also confirmed that private motor transport is the most widespread means of making journeys in the EU (53% of those polled drove rather than cycled, walked or took public transport).
Countries with the most households without a car are Romania with 54%, Latvia 48% and Bulgaria 42%.