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Helen Scholes, Chamber board director and marketing manager of Co Cars and Co Bikes shares her view on the Future of Transport in Exeter.

The publication of our Future of Transport survey coincides with the Government’s Covid ‘Plan B’ which, once again, asks us to work from home whenever possible. So where does this leave how we will travel to the workplace – or, indeed, anywhere – in 2022 and beyond?
For many, working from home has never stopped and, in recent months, has often been combined with time spent back in the workplace. Our survey results indicate that this is a balance both employers and employees value.
Furthermore, an encouraging 70% of respondents believe it’s important to travel sustainably and a third already regularly walk or cycle. That said, two thirds also travel regularly by car and around the same percentage of employers currently have no plans to introduce sustainable transport policies at work.
Clearly, there is still much work to be done. Particularly when we are just a mere 8 years away from both Exeter’s NetZero goal and a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.
Given Devon’s rural nature and Exeter’s extremely wide travel to work area, car travel will always be an important mode of transport. But we are now at the tipping point for electric vehicles: improved battery range, expanding charging infrastructure and salary sacrifice schemes are all making them more accessible. And, of course, there’s also affordable access via Co Cars, including our fleet of brand new VW ID.3s (sorry, couldn’t resist!)
For those living and working in and around Exeter, public transport and cycling infrastructure continue to improve with more flexible ticketing options and dedicated cycle routes. And with Marsh Barton train station due to open this year, there will be a new, regular connection right to the heart of one of our city’s largest employment areas.
And finally, if after reading this you’re thinking you would like to introduce sustainable transport policies into your business, then we can help make it easy. Take a few minutes to read through our toolkit which you can use to signpost staff to what already exists, including how they can save money. This includes information on any money saving offers. If you’d like any further help or advice, then please drop me a line.
Right, I’m off to jump aboard my company vehicle – an electric Co Bike of course!

Helen Scholes, board director of Exeter Chamber and marketing manager of Co Cars, Co Bikes and Co Delivery.

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