Rise in commute times for East Midlands workers

The TUC has found that workers in the East Midlands spend 197 hours a year on their work commute, and that the average daily commute in our region in 2017 was 52 minutes (both ways)

Getting to and from work in the East Midlands now takes 3 minutes longer each day than a decade ago, according to new analysis published today (Tuesday) by the TUC to mark the annual Commute Smart Week organised by Work Wise UK.

Across the UK, rail commuters face the longest journeys, taking an average of 2 hours and 11 minutes every day – an increase of 4 minutes on the last decade.

Drivers spend 52 minutes on the road to work and back (up by 3 minutes), while bus commuters must set aside 79 minutes a day (up by 7 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 1 hour and 21 minutes each day, which is 23 minutes longer than the average across the UK.

The TUC blames growing commutes on three main 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 Regional Secretary for the East Midlands Lee Barron 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.

“Privatisation of trains and buses is a big failure. Journeys are too expensive, too slow and too unreliable. We should bring services back into public ownership. And cuts to public funding for bus routes should be reversed.

“Employers can make a difference too. Home working and flexitime can cut journeys and help avoid the rush hour. And if staff have less stressful journeys, they can focus better on their work.”

Work Wise UK Chief Executive Phil Flaxton 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.

“Our 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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