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Average commuting time rises by 18 hours

13 November 2018

Average commuting time rises by 18 hoursGetting to and from work now takes five minutes longer than a decade ago, according to new analysis by the TUC.

A TUC report has analysed ONS statistics and found that rail commuters face the longest journeys, taking an average of two hours and 11 minutes every day (up by four minutes compared to a decade ago).

Drivers spend 52 minutes on the road getting to work and back (up by three minutes), while bus commuters spend 79 minutes a day (up by seven minutes). Cyclists (44 minutes) and walkers (29 minutes) have the quickest daily journeys.

Most UK nations and regions have seen increases in commute time in the last decade, with the exception of Northern Ireland. Londoners take the longest to get to and from work, travelling for one hour and 21 minutes each day, 23 minutes longer than the average across the UK.

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The TUC blames lengthening commutes on three factors:

  • Low government spending on transport infrastructure;
  • Employers not offering flexible and home working;
  • Real wages falling while house prices have risen, making it harder for people to live close to where they work.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "It's great we're investing in high speed rail between some of our major cities. But people more often use their local buses and trains on their daily commute. These need to be upgraded too ... Employers can make a difference too. Home working and flexi-time can cut journeys and help avoid the rush hour. And if staff have fewer stressful journeys, they can focus better on their work."

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, said: "Long commutes have become a part of the UK's working culture. But the excessive time spent commuting is one of the main factors contributing to work-life balance problems.

"Not only is the time spent commuting an issue, the 9-to-5 culture with its peak travel times generates congestion. And the rush-hours on railways, underground and road networks increase stress for commuters.

"The overall message for employers is that job satisfaction can be improved, and stress levels reduced if workers have opportunities to cut their commuting time. That could mean working from home occasionally or staggering their hours. It could also be good news for employee wellbeing and retention, with lower costs to businesses."

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