The harmful effects of public transport on health

The daily use of public transport can cause serious psychological and physical damage to users, reports “Le Figaro”.


Travel times can also have a significant impact on the health of transport users (illustrative image).
Travel times can also have a significant impact on the health of transport users (illustrative image).

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IThey are used by millions of French people on a daily basis but can have disastrous consequences on their health. As relayed Le Figaro Thursday 3 November, a scientific study published by the Office for National Statistics (which corresponds to Insee in the United Kingdom) shows that employees who prefer public transport to get to their place of work develop more stress than those who opt for the bike or the car and up to three times more stress than those who go there on foot. Among the types of transport, the bus would be the most anxiety-provoking.

According to scientists, travel time can also have a significant impact on health. Indeed, the longer the trip lasts, the more “anxiety” directly impacts the “well-being” of users. But other factors such as population density, the uncertainty of potential delays, the feeling of insecurity and the many incivilities also increase passenger stress.

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Illnesses, infections, exhaustion, burn-out…, multiple risks

“It is not public transport that is in itself a stress factor, but rather the conditions in which this service is often carried out”, points out psychology professor Jérôme Dinet to our colleagues.

Worse than discomfort, the stress generated by public transport can lead to much more serious adverse effects, such as cardiovascular disease and infections, after the immune system of users has been impacted. Symbol of professional exhaustion among a large part of the French, these journeys “have become an important factor in burn-out”, underlines Jérôme Dinet again. And this trend did not improve after the confinements linked to the health crisis, when many employees needed to move and leave the big cities to avoid using the same public transport over and over again.

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