Just 1 in 10 drivers likely to give up their car in the next five years

New research shows scale of challenge faced by transport policymakers, but a growing willingness to consider alternatives if they are made available

New consumer research commissioned by Bolt, the European mobility super-app, has revealed the scale of the challenge faced by Irish regulators currently aiming to shake up the transport market.

Just 1 in 10 drivers likely to give up their car in the next five years
Bolt Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

With the Road Traffic and Roads Bill reaching a crucial committee hearing last week, Bolt found that there is no time to lose, with only 1 in 10 (11.6%) Irish car owners feeling like they can give up their vehicle in five years’ time given the current alternatives available.

Just 1 in 10 drivers likely to give up their car in the next five years

The same research showed an appetite for transport alternatives if made widely available. Over one-third of drivers (38%) are aiming to reduce the number of car trips they take per week with respondents mainly looking at cutting out driving for recreational trips (43.7%) and over one-third (33.5%) looking to stop commuting by private car. A further 27.9% hope to reduce using the car for grocery shopping.

The nationwide survey conducted amongst 500 drivers also revealed the reasons why car owners might choose to give up their vehicles. Half of the respondents (51%) cited the overall expense of running a car and 50% blamed rising fuel costs. In addition, 26% are inclined to give up private car ownership for environmental reasons.

Respondents also factored in improvements in public transport (24%) and lack of car parking spaces (13%) as additional reasons to give up the car.

Commenting on the findings, Aisling Dunne, Head of Public Policy for Bolt Ireland said,

“Bolt’s mission is to reduce the need for private car ownership through offering multiple transport modes in the same app. We believe Ireland has amongst the highest potential for doing this, as there is intrinsic high car usage but many journeys are short. Our research supports the clear willingness to look at alternatives and is the start of a major drive from Bolt to track sentiment. With our suite of offerings, we want to support drivers taking the initiative to give up the private car with long term choices.”

What’s the alternative?

When faced with not having a private car, the survey respondents would look towards the bus and train with 37% and 12% respectively considering the move to each form of public transport. 15% of respondents would give up the car and use a bike and 8% would consider electric scooters. Nearly 10% of the respondents would opt for a taxi while 11% would be open to the idea of car rental. This shows that a range of transport offerings will be needed to get a wide-scale shift in behaviour.

Car rentals and car clubs

Whilst the Roads Bill looks primarily at micromobility solutions, it’s clear that introducing more car-sharing should also be a part of the answer. Survey respondents claimed that over 70% (72.7%) would estimate they would need to hire a car at least once per week if they were to give up the use of their private vehicle.

There are currently less than 1000 car club vehicles in Ireland. Research shows you need 1 per 1000 people to make an impact on behaviour, leaving Ireland over 5x short. Concurrent research conducted by Bolt and Bounce (available on request) shows availability, price and the flexibility of the service to be key factors holding back this market

Dunne added: “One of Bolt’s fastest-growing services is its car club offering, Bolt Drive, and we see Ireland as having strong characteristics to reach world-leading levels of shared car ownership. We’re seeing significant shifts in how people use these services within our ‘free floating’ model in Tallinn, and our evidence shows this additional flexibility is being sought by Dublin drivers.”

How is Bolt contributing to change?

Bolt’s multi-modal offering of taxis, electric scooters, electric bikes and food delivery aims to build cities for people, not cars.

Having launched its ride-hailing service in Dublin in December 2020, Bolt already has thousands of drivers on its platform.

Bolt uses its ride-hailing operations as a foundation for a range of mobility services including, shared cars, e-bikes, scooter hire, and food and grocery delivery. These services are provided to more than 100 million customers in over 45 countries across Europe and Africa.

Bolt is in active discussions to launch multiple shared mobility services in Irish cities this year, which would offer the public the ability to choose between a taxi, car, electric scooter or even an e-bike within the same app.

The Bolt app is available on iOS and Android.

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