London commuters are preparing to ditch the Tube and get back in their cars in record numbers as they return to work, a survey suggested today. A total of 56 per cent of respondents said they planned to travel to work differently as a result of the coronavirus, with 72 per cent saying they will avoid the Tube for all but “essential” trips. A total of 49 per cent of the 1,000 surveyed said they would use their car — up from 23 per cent before lockdown. There is also concern that traffic levels could double — one of the reasons for the temporary C-charge hike to £15 and the decision to enforce it until 10pm and at weekends.
Britain is on track for a V-shaped recovery as the economy rebounds from the lockdown far faster than expected, the Bank of England’s chief economist has said. Andy Haldane said the country was already two months into the recovery and that the depth of the coronavirus recession was likely to be less than half as bad as the Bank had feared in May.
Real-time data on payments, traffic flow, energy use and business surveys suggested that “the recovery has come somewhat sooner, and has been materially faster, than in the [Bank’s] May scenario — indeed than any other mainstream macroeconomic forecaster”, Mr Haldane said. “It is early days, but my reading of the evidence is so far, so V.” Policymakers and economists have grown increasingly gloomy in the past few months.
After initially predicting that the recession would be V-shaped, or short and sharp, they have lowered expectations, warning of a slow U-shaped recovery, a “W” caused by a second rise in cases or even an “L”, where the recession is prolonged. Mr Haldane emphasised that the economy was still facing an unprecedented collapse and that a steep rise in unemployment posed a threat to a swift rebound, but he remained optimistic.
The UK economy shrank more than first thought between January and March, contracting 2.2% in the joint largest fall since 1979, official figures show. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised down its initial estimate of a 2% contraction, with all the main economic sectors dropping. There was a significant economic impact in March, as the coronavirus pandemic began to have an effect.
McDonald’s is to install hundreds of charging points for electric cars at its sites across the UK. Through a partnership with electric vehicle charging network InstaVolt, McDonald’s will introduce ports in the car parks of its drive-through restaurants where customers can charge their electric cars. According to the fast food giant, the ports will allow customers to charge their cars up to 80 per cent in under 20 minutes.
McDonald’s recently conducted research to ascertain the public’s perception of electric vehicles. The company’s findings showed that more than half of people who do not own an electric car cite lack of convenient charging points as one of their predominant reasons for not switching from petrol. Two-thirds of the respondents said they would consider switching to an electric vehicle if this changed. McDonald’s currently offers members of staff electric or hybrid vehicles if they are eligible for company cars.
The Evans Halshaw, Stratstone and Car Store car retail businesses will have a “powered by Pendragon” prefix added to their name as part of a rebrand of the AM100 group aiming to add confidence to car buying consumers. The PLC redesigned its logo and established a new corporate colour scheme prior to the COVID-19 lockdown and is now poised to begin an omnichannel advertising campaign which will promote the entire group under the Pendragon umbrella for the first time in its history.
Speaking to AM about the Pendragon “recharge” last week, the group’s chief marketing officer, Kim Costello, said: “People are familiar with Evans Halshaw, Stratstone and Car Store, but not everyone knows they are part of a bigger group. The group has launched a seven-day, 250-mile money back guarantee (excluding vehicles over £75,000). It will also reboot the ‘Sell Your Car’ offering at its Evans Halshaw sites from July 1, reducing its offering from six to four vehicle segments to simplify the sales process for consumers and introducing the car buying offer throughout the Stratstone division for the first time, Costello said.
Almost two thirds (62%) of drivers are nervous about resuming driving as lockdown measures ease, Aviva research shows. Nearly a third of are concerned about more traffic on the roads, especially more cyclists, some of whom may have only taken up cycling during lockdown. A third worry that pedestrians who have become used to quieter roads may step off pavements without looking and one in eight worry they’ll have to deal with more delivery vans. These worries run in parallel with fears about how their driving skills have deteriorated through lack of practise. A survey of 2,000 drivers by Hyundai shows a fifth of motorists are struggling to get to grips with driving again.
Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, adds: “Motorists should carry out basic checks and visit a franchised dealer for their peace of mind to ensure their vehicle is safe to drive. Getting an MOT done is often the best way to find any potential issues and have them addressed. Also, as roads get busier, it is advisable to try where possible to avoid rush hour traffic as that’s when more vehicles, as well as cyclists and pedestrians, will be on the road.”