Inbound transport research

Types of transport used by inbound visitors during their stay in Britain

Every year we add extra questions to the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey to help us better understand the needs and characteristics of overseas visitors to Britain.

One of the questions that we added during 2018 focused on the types of transport that visitors used during their stay. The table presents the proportion of visits that included using each of the different types of transport that were asked about (excluding 'Don't know' from the sample base).

Types of transport used by visitors

Type of transport Visit share in 2018
Bus, tube, tram or metro train (within town/city) 49%
Taxi 28%
Train (outside town/city) 23%
Uber or other sharing app 10%
Hired self-drive car/vehicle 5%
Public bus/coach (outside town/city) 5%
Private coach/minibus (for group only) 2%
Ferry/boat 1%
Domestic flight 1%
Other car/vehicle you/group brought to the UK 1%
None of these 27%
Source: International Passenger Survey, 2018

The most commonly used mode of transport is ‘bus, tube, tram or metro train (within town/city)’, which is reported to be used by just about half of all respondents (49%). Over one-in-four say they used a taxi during their time in the UK (28%) and 23% used a train to travel outside of towns and cities.

Looking at transport within towns and cities, transport sharing apps have developed into a common alternative mode of transport, with 10% of inbound visitors using these in 2018.

Please note that most lorry drivers were not asked this question, and, as a consequence, are not taken into account in the results for 'Car/vehicle you/group brought to the UK'.

Read more about rail travel and the other types of transport used by inbound visitors to the UK during their visit in 2018 by downloading our report about internal modes of transport (PDF, 1.3MB). Published September 2020