Press Release

Government should offer more financial incentives to help Londoners give up their cars – think tank

With the introduction of ULEZ expansion looming, independent think tank Centre for London has modelled the impact of 12 possible policies to nudge people away from cars on 9 different typical London households.

The ideas included £1 bus fares, cheaper bikes, cheaper cycle storage, subsided fares for people on low incomes and ‘pay per mile’ road user charging.

Researchers found that a mix of ‘carrots and sticks’ is a more effective way to get people to change their behaviour than any individual policy change.

Part of this needs to include raising awareness of the ‘hidden costs’ of owning private vehicles. These are often paid in a lump sum, like tax or insurance, so are harder to compare to per trip costs of public transport or cycle hire.

Transport for London should offer ‘mobility credits’ to pay for the transport of Londoners on low incomes or disability benefits who scrap their old cars say the think tank.

Oriane Nermond, Research Manager at Centre for London said:

“There’s no silver bullet idea to get people to give up on their car. But combining different policies into a coherent package can help to ensure that every Londoner has an affordable alternative to driving.

All levels of government need to work together to help make sure people know about existing alternatives to owning cars, and how much they cost.”

James Bain, Chief Operating Officer Mobility and Transactional Services at Worldline said:

“London’s public transport infrastructure is an engine of economic growth and a facilitator of social mobility.

The incentives proposed should both encourage more widespread use as well as bringing people onto the network who had previously believed it wasn’t for them.”

Tim Thomas, Head of Transport, Infrastructure and Policy Planning at BeFirst said:

“In areas like Barking and Dagenham the pandemic and the cost of living crisis have had a big impact on the way people travel. Car use and ownership in the Borough is still rising despite London-wide trends toward active travel.

We welcome this report and the ideas around mobility credits, free bike hire, car clubs and testing new flexible demand-based transport systems focused on the needs of local people.

We encourage the Mayor, Government and the transport industry to look at this report and take action to enable people to make more sustainable transport choices.”