Flemings and their beloved car

More and more Flemings are taking the car, even to cover small distances under 2 miles. At the same time, a large majority is unfamiliar with public transport. That's according to a large-scale survey by the Institute for Mobility, involving 1,765 Flemings.

The survey was conducted between September 2008 and September 2009. The main conclusion is that the car takes a central place in the lives of a majority of the Flemings.

The average Fleming makes 2 of his 3 ordinary trips, including small-distance trips to the local grocer's, with the car. Only in 25 percent of the cases do people take out the bicycle or go by foot to cover these small distances. For trips under 2 miles, half of the respondents admits taking the car, instead of opting for sustainable transport.

On top of that, only 5 percent regularly takes public transport. 70 percent of the respondents admit that they are not at all familiar with public transport like tram, bus or subway. A towering 87 percent "almost never or never" takes the train.

"We need a change of mentality"

The tendency of more and more people taking the car is despite different campaigns to promote public transport and car sharing.

The Flemish minister responsible for Mobility, Hilde Crevits (Flemish christian democrat) thinks that Flemings need to change their attitude. "Apparently, public transport is only used by a small group of people in Flanders. This has to change. We need to appeal to more people."

To make things less complicated, Crevits wants to introduce an electronic card by 2013 which could then be used to pay for the tram, train and bus at the same time and possibly also to hire a bike in big cities.

There is also good news. When it comes to getting to and from school, 2 in 3 children take the bike, use public transport or come by foot. "This is in sharp contrast with the general image that a large majority of the children is being brought to school by their parents in the car", Hilde Crevits concludes.