Commuters in the South West now spend 24 working days a year travelling

Commuters from the South West now face an average 51-minute daily journey – the equivalent of 24 working days a year, according to TUC analysis released today (Friday) to mark Work Wise UK’s Commute Smart Week.

Getting to and from work now takes commuters in the South West an extra five minutes a day compared with a decade ago – the equivalent of an extra 19 hours a year spent on congested roads and packed trains. This takes in workers travelling into the region’s congested cities as well as long rural journeys to work.

Nationally, commuters are facing an average daily journey of 58 minutes, up five minutes from a decade ago.

The number of workers facing very long commutes (over two hours) is up by 34%, with 3,291,012 now facing very long journeys.

Rail commutes take longest

Rail commuters face the longest journeys, taking an average of two hours and 12 minutes every day – an increase of four minutes on the last decade.

Drivers spend 52 minutes on the road to work and back (up by four minutes), while bus commuters must set aside 39 minutes a day (up by seven minutes).

Cyclists (43 minutes) and walkers (30 minutes) have the quickest daily journeys.

Commute times are increasing

The South West TUC blames growing commutes on three main factors:

  • low government spending on transport infrastructure, compounded by hold-ups and bottlenecks;
  • employers not offering flexible and home working;
  • real wages falling while property prices soar, making it hard to move closer to work.

TUC Regional Secretary for the South WestNigel Costley said:

“We’re now spending 24 working days a year going to and from work. That’s wasted time, which could have been better spent with family and friends.

“Bristol is one of the most congested cities in the country and in rural areas many people find it difficult to live and work in the same place.

“Commutes should be getting shorter, but inflexible bosses and our cash-starved transport system mean we’re wasting more and more time getting to work.

“It doesn’t have to be like this. Home working and less rigid hours would take pressure off road and rail. And serious government investment could give us a transport network that’s up to the job.”