More than one-third (37%) of SME employees who drive cars for work will consider using a different from of transport when the sale of new conventional diesel and petrol cars is banned by 2040.
The finding was revealed in Trainline for Business's newly-launched SME Business Travel Index, which collected data from more than 1,000 business travellers at SMEs across the UK.
The research found that ‘travelling by train’ and ‘driving in their own car’ were ranked as the most popular methods of business travel for SMEs, with both being used by over two-thirds (68%) of business travellers in the past 12 months. Close behind was ‘travelling by plane’ (46%) and ‘driving in a company car’ (39%).
Just over half of SME workers believe business travel budgets haven’t changed in the last year (52%), there is increasing pressure on many to drive cost efficiency on business trips.
Of the 26% who thought business travel budgets have declined, 40% felt increasing pressure to restrict the frequency of business travel while 37% were increasingly expected to choose cheaper options of travel. 21% were increasingly being asked to shorten the length of business trips.
However, business travellers are adapting to this pressure by choosing cheaper options of travel, rather than restricting travel altogether. Nearly two-thirds of business travellers choose to travel on Off-Peak trains, with 65% citing ‘cost-saving’ as the key driver.
This trend is being led from the top, with owners or proprietors of SMEs the most likely group to travel off-peak (at 74%) – higher than any other level.
Ananth Ramanathan, head of SME at Trainline, said: “Face-to-face meetings are undoubtedly the best way to build relationships and, for this reason, business travel remains as important as ever.
"Rail continues to prove a popular mode of transport for business travellers because of the convenience and increased productivity time it offers.
“Our research shows that SMEs are adapting to budgetary pressure by choosing cheaper options of travel rather than reducing the number of trips they’re having to make."