Public transport use picks up in early 2021, but where will the COVID road lead?

Woman wearing mask standing at bus stop decide whether or not to use public transport.

New Roy Morgan data shows public transport use surged in the March 2021 quarter, with around 8.9 million Australians aged over 14 (or 42% of that contingent) riding the rails, buses and ferries.

This is an increase of more than one million users compared to the December 2020 quarter  and a rise of two million from the September period last year. 

At the height of the pandemic in early 2020, Infrastructure Australia saw public transport use drop to between 10-30% of pre-COVID capacity and later settle to around 60-70% capacity.

But as further community transmission of the virus is becoming evident in pockets throughout the country, many areas in lockdown are pumping the brakes on public transport. As was noted last year, this shift in transport methods could have significant implications for the environment as well as people’s budgets. 

If you’re avoiding public transport when possible to minimise potential virus contact, there are a few things you can do on this front.

How to manage your transport budget and environmental footprint 

  • Walk or ride where there’s room. Human-powered transport is always going to be the cheapest and most sustainable way to get around. Striding or bike riding around once a day can do wonders for your mental and physical health, whether you’re on an errand or just getting some exercise. However, if you live in a city or busy town it could be worth taking the path less travelled and having a mask with you, as popular routes can become congested when everyone has this same great idea. 
  • Invest in reusable masks. If you do need to use public transport, you’ll want to mask up to help curb the spread of COVID. You might be tempted to grab a conveniently placed box of single-use facemasks at the chemist or supermarket, but this likely won’t be the most affordable or environmentally-friendly way to procure PPE. Instead, find yourself a reusable mask that’s as green as it is fashionable.
  • Update your car insurance. If you’re driving less because of travel restrictions it might be worth investigating pay-as-you-drive car insurance for a discounted premium. Alternatively, if you’re driving more for social distancing reasons, make sure you know exactly what you're covered for and that you’re getting the best-value insurance for your driving needs. You can start by investigating some of the comprehensive car insurance policies below.

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