Half of Londoners feel uncomfortable travelling on the Tube over COVID fears

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
May 13, 2021, 2:06 PM UTC

Londoners tend to say they would feel safe travelling in a taxi or on the train, while they are split on buses

The City of London’s local authority has called for the return of office workers and visitors to boost economic activity. Already in September last year, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said that working from home had cost central London £2.3 billion. But YouGov data shows that even as over half of the UK’s population is vaccinated and COVID-19 case numbers are down, Londoners are hesitant about getting back on public transport.

Half of Londoners say they would not feel comfortable travelling on the Tube, including a quarter (23%) who say they would not feel comfortable at all. Only one in ten (10%) would feel very relaxed about going on the Underground, while a third (32%) feel fairly at ease.

Almost as many Londoners are ambivalent about taking buses at 48%, with a fifth (20%) saying they’d not feel comfortable doing so at all. But an equal share (48%) say they would feel at ease, although only 12% would feel very comfortable.

While two in five people in London (42%) still feel anxious about the risk of catching COVID-19 on the train – including on the Overground, tram or DLR – a greater number (53%) say they would feel fine using this type of transport.

Taxis are widely regarded as the safest form of public transport, with three in five Londoners (62%) saying they’d feel comfortable travelling in a cab, while a third (32%) would not.

Despite low vaccine rates, younger people are the least worried about public transport

The research suggests that younger people could be driving the return to city centres. For every type of public transport, they are less likely to say they’d not feel safe using it because of coronavirus. Two in five 18-24 year olds (43%) worry about getting on the Tube, compared with 60% of those aged 65+.

The difference is similar when it comes to trains, with three in ten young people (28%) feeling apprehensive about this mode of transport, compared with 43-45% of those aged 25+.

The gap persists despite the fact that most young people have not received the vaccine yet, and older Britons generally feel safer from COVID-19 while out and about.

See the full results here