Nearly 40% of Belgians say they do not intend to commute after the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, according to a new study by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).
Throughout the lockdown, up to three-quarters of respondents to the VUB's survey said they stopped taking public transportation altogether.
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39% of those polled said that they do not intend to begin commuting by public transport again after the lockdown lifts while 41% of those who said they would still use commute (62%) said they would do so less often.
Carried out by researchers with the VUB's mobility studies hub, the survey polled a total of 614 respondents, out of whom a majority live and work in Flanders or Brussels.
84% of the respondents to the survey also said they were frequent commuters, taking public transportation between at least four to five days each week.
The researchers also found the respondents who said they wanted to continue commuting after the lockdown tended to live closer to their workplaces than those who said they would stop.
The survey's researchers said that the representation across the ages was quite good in comparison to public transport data by the federal public services for mobility (FPS Mobilité), with only the 65+ age group underrepresented in their poll.
A major factor guiding respondents' choice to no longer take public transportation was the likeliness for crowding inside vehicles as well as other safety-related concerns.
More than a third (35%) of respondents said they would be encouraged to keep using public transportation if they knew the occupancy rates of vehicles in real-time, a figure which rises to over half (57%) for users who already have a public transport subscription.
After the lockdown, the share of people who said they would begin walking to work rose from 15% to 18%, compared to results gathered before the lockdown.
38% of respondents said they would use the bike as a mode of transport during the confinement, with e-bicycles registered the biggest increase in user interest, going from 5.5% before the lockdown to 9.23% after its lift.
The Brussels Times