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Flexible working could end rush-hour congestion, finds Wagonex

Rush hour traffic

A preference for flexible working could make the rush hour a thing of the past, research by Wagonex has found.

The vehicle subscription specialist says the changes, brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, may mean traffic congestion on roads and passenger surges on rail and bus services happening unexpectedly at different times of the day and on different times of the week.

Traiditonally, rush hours have been between 6am and 9am, and 4pm to 6.30pm.

Tony Kernon, founder and CEO of Wagonex, said: “There are huge benefits to hybrid working.

“Individuals will be able to achieve a better work/life balance and businesses will have happier, more productive staff.

“With fewer people traveling to offices there could also be an environmental benefit and improvements in air quality.

“But one big downside is that life could well become even tougher for commuters.

“If employees can choose on which days they go to the office and have more flexibility in their working hours, it will become incredibly difficult to predict when and where travel peaks will occur.

“Commuters who drive to work may find they breeze into the office one day and then are stuck in tailbacks the next and those using public transport may be alone in carriages and on buses one day and packed in like sardines the next.”

Conducted by Yonder, the Wagonex survey polled 1,000 working age people and found:

  • Close to two-fifths (37%) of respondents expect to work or study remotely more often in the future compared to before the pandemic.
  • Younger respondents aged 18-24 (56%) and 25-34 (45%) are significantly more likely than the older age groups to expect to do so (35-44s 29%; 45-54s 32%; 55-64s 17%).
  • The wealthier ABs (52%) and C1s (42%) are notably more likely to expect to work or study remotely more in the future compared to C2s (24%) and DEs (19%).
  • Respondents that work in the public sector (52%) are significantly more likely than those working in the private sector (38%) to prefer working/studying remotely more in the future.
  • Half of respondents (50%) expect to commute to and from work or their place of study primarily using their car.

This last point is supported by recent research from used car marketplace Heycar, which found 47% of commuters will travel to and from their office by car.

Dan Powell, senior editor at Heycar, said: “After so many months of lockdowns and social distancing, it’s understandable that one-in-two are uncomfortable with the prospect of being jammed into a train carriage or standing on a packed bus with dozens of strangers.

“As a result, our cars have taken on even more importance as a comfortable and reliable way to travel to work in a post-pandemic world.”

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