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Upto 31% UAE residents concerned about overcrowding on flights – survey

Upto 31% UAE residents concerned about overcrowding on flights – survey

Many people remain nervous and are hesitant to use public transport due to the pandemic

Almost one-third of people (31 per cent) in the UAE have concerns around overcrowding on flights, a new survey has found.

As many as 80 per cent of the respondents using public transport services ranked physical distancing as their first or second priority for feeling safe.

Meanwhile, 62 per cent placed daily disinfection and sanitisation as the most important or second most significant priority, according to the survey conducted by UAE-based Serco’s user-centred design company, ExperienceLab – which recorded responses from 217 Dubai residents, 37 discovery interviews with staff, customers and drivers of transport providers and 10 interviews with passengers returning to the UAE.

Many people remain nervous and are hesitant to use public transport during the pandemic, key findings reveal. Passengers are also resorting to digital touchpoints to reduce physical contact where possible, such as topping up travel cards via contactless payments versus going to a ticket counter. Furthermore, many people still have concerns for their personal safety due to the behaviour of other people not adhering to the rules around physical distancing and mask-wearing.

One unnerving experience where passengers don’t feel safe could lead them to stop using public transportation altogether. However, 26 per cent of respondents said that having an authority figure or entity enforcing physical distancing and mask wearing would make them feel safer.

The survey also highlighted some of the key considerations moving forward which could ease concerns for passengers.

· Increased frequency of sanitisation across public transport re-assures the public about their safety while using these services. This can range from taxi fleets to specific areas such as seats, cabins on a bus, tram or metro, and wider areas like the platforms that passengers wait on at the station. Providers need to be careful with how transparent they are with information about initiatives such as sanitisation programmes.

· Offering free sanitisers – Passengers feel more reassured when they can sanitise their own hands and spaces, taking ownership of their own safety as opposed to trusting another person or entity to do so. The hospitality sector should look to do the same, with food establishments providing a dedicated sanitiser bottle at each table and counter.

· Having access to information around safety measures and constant communication about changes being made is another way to reassure the public and help make them feel safe. It is important have an updated website and social platforms which clearly outline Covid-19 prevention measures. Also providing pre-travel information through alerts via email or text messages which links back to the website, can be of assistance.

· Planning stages of the travel journey were ‘stressful’ and ‘confusing’ according to the respondents. Necessary information must be communicated at the right time through the right channel. A potential solution can be to consider an existing communication channel, such as an easy to access mobile application, to get real time customer feedback, and unify the information across all platforms.

· Re-designing the physical environment as part of a long term strategy, instead of just meeting short term requirements. This includes designing queueing systems that make it easier for passengers to abide by physical distancing measures, all the way to prototyping and testing new signages.

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