Edinburgh is easiest city to travel in the UK for third year running

Posted on 27th July 2018

Travel concerns cause 34% of people not to leave their homes 

Edinburgh has maintained its pole position as the easiest city in the UK to travel in, according to the third annual ESP Group Easy Travel Index (ETI)*. But across the UK 34% of people sometimes don’t leave their homes due to concerns about travel, up from 30% in 2017.

Scotland’s capital has held on to the top spot for ease of local travel for a third year, while Birmingham claimed the top spot for ease of long-distance travel, displacing Edinburgh which dropped to second place.

The ETI, developed by ESP Group, a world leading transport and mobility services company, examines the ease of use of transport in cities across the UK.  Respondents in 45 towns, cities and regions across the country were asked to rate how easy they find travelling within their local area as well as ease of travelling further afield.

Dublin experienced the biggest improvements in their score and ranking for ease of local travel climbing 25 places. Nottingham also stood out, improving 20 places to reach the top three.

Edinburgh and Nottingham’s publicly owned bus companies and strong integrated networks have significantly contributed to their success through stable and accessible bus and tram services, competitive prices and easy to use ticketing, through integrated smart ticketing and travel apps.  This ensures that public transport is easy to use and affordable.  Throughout the UK the rising cost of transport is the biggest difficulty facing respondents; 34% of people report that cost of transport affects their local travel which rises to 44% for long-distance travel.

There was also a strong increase for Hull (from 33rd to 16th).  As 2017’s City of Culture there was investment in transport and with a year-long series of events and exhibitions attracting visitors from across the country and abroad, there was a greater demand and interest in travel during this period.

Commenting on the results Dr Steve Cassidy, director of ESP Group, said: “Edinburgh has excelled itself once again, maintaining pole position in the rankings which is testament to the strong, integrated transport networks it continues to develop.

“Our latest Easy Travel Index demonstrates that high proportions of travellers feel routes and timetables can often make local and long-distance travel difficult. Numerous people in cities across the UK aren’t finding travel options easy due to a variety of network challenges, difficulties with interactions, touchpoints and the overall service offering.”

“There is much excellent work being done by authorities and operators to make travel easier.  But not everyone is benefitting – in large part due to a lack of awareness and concerns about ease of use.  24% of people did not claim compensation for their delayed train because they expected it to be difficult, while 29% did not even know they could make a claim.”

Thirty percent of people who required assistance to travel by rail did not request help from the train operating company because they felt uncomfortable doing so.  22% did not even know that passenger assistance existed, and overall 34% of people in the UK sometimes don’t leave their home due to concerns about travel, up from 30% last year.

Dr Steve Cassidy added: “Some of the statistics from the ETI report make alarming reading.  There are so many initiatives to support passengers in using public transport and help them understand how to use the system and make travel easier – even when things go wrong. These include new forms of payment and travel apps as well as services to assist those needing a little more help.  However, the impact of these services is being constrained due to a lack of understanding amongst the wider public: regular users may understand and use services but the occasional and new user still is not aware or is uncertain of use. Technology can help, but it’s not everything.

“Human contact needs to be blended with technological support, and ESP Group initiatives such as DelayCheck (a fast and efficient delay compensation solution used by many rail operators to manage delay repayments) and NaviGoGo (a travel planning, booking and payment app designed by young people) will take steps towards combatting these issues and provide solutions to travel anxiety. There are endless opportunities for the future of travel, and we’re committed to making these changes a reality for people up and down the UK.”


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