Work travel sees highest fall in India among large economies – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Mobility restrictions due to the coronavirus and emergence of trends around home/remote office, education and entertainment have decluttered Indian cities that have seen a sharp reduction in travel in the months since the lockdown. The trend has also made the cities less polluted with reduced vehicular traffic as well as lower congestion roads, according to a study.
As work-, entertainment-, and education-from-home picked up, India witnessed a massive 69% decline in travel related to work/office, the highest fall among bigger economies, according to a Mobility Consumer Index Survey by EY.EY had conducted the survey with 3,300 respondents (500 in India) across nine countries — India, China, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Germany, the UK & the US — to explore the impact of Covid on consumer attitude and behaviour.
The survey showed that the fall in work travel was mirrored almost paralelly by the reduction in social travel that declined by 59% and household travel that fell by 58%.
“The drops are substantial as India, the world’s biggest democracy with a population of 138 crore, parallels the levels of work-related decline of 70% in a small country of Sweden with a population of only a crore,” EY said, adding, “The decline can be attributed to the strict lockdown measures in India to control the pandemic, resulting in steep declines across travel segments.”
According to the survey, average weekly travel time has come down by 40% from 6 hours to 3.7 hours per person. Of the nine countries surveyed, India and Singapore witnessed the maximum decline in average weekly commute time. EY said that a long-term decline in commuting time could mean a lower peak demand and less strain on public transport systems and road networks. “This profuse reduction in use of public transport and road networks brings forth a challenging situation for the trains, buses and subway operators that find it difficult to generate enough revenue to meet their operational costs which have already risen due to Covid-19 control measures that were instituted into the system.”
In a silver lining, the survey pointed to the sudden drop in air pollution in large cities due to the lockdown. “Emissions fell drastically, skies cleared and the residents of New York, London, Shanghai, Mumbai and other major metro cities that are usually trafficclogged cities enjoyed clean air for the first time in decades.”
EY analysis indicated that monthly per capita emissions of carbon dioxide fell globally across all three travel segments, broadly tracking the decline in journey numbers noted. Vinay Raghunath, automotive sector leader at EY India, said the change in mobility dynamics and consumer behaviour will push stakeholders to think through new operating models.

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