The pandemic has led to a spike in commuters opting to drive to work instead of using public transport, a survey from Close Brothers Motor Finance has revealed.

Over a third (37%) of respondents said they preferred travelling to work by car, compared to just one in 12% who would prefer to take public transport. The number of people who preferred walking was one in 10. Some 4% of commuters said they cycled to work.

The results appear to indicate a growing awareness of virus transmission on public transport, as employees headed back to their workplaces following the lifting of government restrictions. The study found that 38% had changed their preference as a result of the pandemic, with almost a third (28%) citing health benefits, and about a fifth (22%) saying they did not want to mix with people. Other reasons given for driving to work were time, (22%), ease (26%) and cost (22%).

The increase in commuters who drive has led to a higher demand for cars in a market that is already experiencing supply issues, driving prices up significantly.

“We’re seeing a huge influx of consumers who want to buy cars right now, after a market lull during the pandemic,” said Sean Kemple, managing director of Close Brothers Motor Finance.

“The ripple effect of multiple lockdowns across the globe and ‘pingdemic’, continues to cause issues for manufacturing. This domino effect means customers may not have the large choice of new vehicles they once did, particularly at a time where they might want to avoid public transport. For buyers hoping to have more luck in the used car market, they could face bumped-up retail prices as demand soars, with some second-hand models selling for more than their original value.”

Kemple continued: “For buyers looking to purchase a vehicle in the months ahead, it’s worth speaking to their local dealer to find out how their plans may be impacted, and whether they’ll face a particularly long waiting time for their vehicle choice. Their dealer will also be able to discuss alternative choices, finance plans and answer any questions they have.”