2019 WBG Briefing: Public transport and gender

Date Posted: Thursday 31st October 2019

October 2019

Transport

View and download our full briefing here.

Key points:

  • Travel by public transport is highly gendered. In 2018 across England men made slightly more journeys by rail than women, but women made over a third more journeys by bus than men. [1]
  • In 2018 across England men made slightly more journeys by rail than women, but women made over a third more journeys by bus than men. [2]
  • In Scotland and Wales the data suggests that these trends are replicated: women are more likely to use the bus than men, whilst men are more likely to use rail than women.
  • In Northern Ireland the latest figures show there is little difference in how frequently men and women use public transport, but like the rest of the UK, men tend to travel further distances than women on all forms of transport. [3]
  • In 2017/18, UK Government spending on public transport totalled £32.5bn. [4]
  • This included £18bn on railways, £10.5bn on local and national roads and £2.5bn on ‘local public transport’ including buses. [5]
  • Analysis by the Equality Trust showed that the richest ten per cent receives £977.4 million in transport subsidy; the poorest ten per cent receives just £296.7 million. [6]
  • Bus fares are a barrier to access. 38% of adults would use buses more often if fares were cheaper. 14% of women and 12% of men said they don’t use buses because fares were too high. [7]
  • Between March 2012 and March 2018, the average annual percentage change in bus fares was 2.9%, which was higher than the average annual rate of inflation (1.6%).[8]

[1] Department of Transport, 2019, Mode of Travel Statistical Data Set, NTS0702 https://bit.ly/34dmDGR

[2] Department of Transport, 2019, Mode of Travel Statistical Data Set, NTS0702 https://bit.ly/34dmDGR

[3] Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, 2019, Travel Survey for Northern Ireland In-depth Report 2015-2017 p 21 https://bit.ly/2MU7kNt

[4] Department for Transport, 2019, UK Public Expenditure on Transport by function: from 2005/06 – 2017/18 https://bit.ly/2Wk9MzP

[5] House of Commons Library, 2018, Transport Spending by Region, https://bit.ly/2MSaeSB

[6] Equality Trust, 2015, Taken for a Ride – How UK public transport subsidies entrench inequality, p5 https://bit.ly/2paFcN6

[7] Department of Transport, 2013, Public Attitudes Towards Busses, Table ATT0109 https://bit.ly/2op0KoJ

[8] Department of Transport, 2017, Quarterly bus statistics: July to September 2017, https://bit.ly/2NmF3y3

View and download our full briefing here.