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New Delhi: Urban consumers, still wary of using crowded public transport, intend to use personal vehicles more than they did in pre-pandemic times, a survey by market researcher YouGov has found.

Globally, India is one of the top markets showing a net increase in intent to use a personal vehicle in the next 12 months, YouGov said while releasing India-specific findings of the survey on Thursday.

As a result, urban consumers reported low intent towards the use of public transportation in the next 12 months.

Indians rely heavily on public transport, including private and public buses, auto rickshaws, metro trains, cabs and others. These modes of transport are widely used given affordability and access they provide to millions of households.

However, the pandemic has nudged consumers to stay away from modes of transportation that are typically crowded.

YouGov’s International Automotive Report 2021 studied demographics, behaviours, and preferences of automotive consumers and how digital transformation has changed traditional car ownership and buying behaviours in 17-markets.

The mobility industry has experienced huge disruptions due to the pandemic, impacting development trends in mobility and transportation, YouGov said. Whether it is a matter of convenience, safety, or otherwise, people prefer having a personal vehicle over other options, it said.

“One-third (33%) of Indian respondents say they will use their personal vehicle more in the coming year than they did in pre-pandemic times, compared to only 25% of respondents saying they will use it less. This behavioral change will have an impact on companies across the transportation landscape competing for this audience’s transportation expenditures," it said.

Meanwhile, 49% urban Indians said they will lower their use of public transport in the future.

The same is true about their future usage of ride-hailing services, 35% less versus 13% more.

This highlights the need for work to be done to restore confidence among urban Indians in public transport and ride-hailing as safe and clean transportation modes, YouGov said.

Use of personal transport, on the other hand, is likely to see an uptick among those aged 45-years and above, especially those working men, YouGov said after studying the demographic profile of users who are likely to swap public commute for private transport.

This audience is more likely to belong to tier-1 cities and fall within the mid- or high-income groups, it said.

An overwhelming majority of these users rely on the internet for information when it comes to deciding or researching in types of vehicles they tend to use.

Advertising influences them much more than the online population, and three-quarter of them say advertising helps them choose what they buy, the survey said.

Globally too, driving behavior was drastically impacted as a result of the pandemic.

Having said that, a majority of people who buy and drive their own vehicle expect no change in the need for a personal vehicle about 59%. A third stated a lesser or no need for a personal vehicle, while 18% expect a slight or significantly more need for it, the survey findings revealed.

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