Men in their early 40s have the longest commutes

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Men in their early 40s have the longest commutes

Men in their early 40s have the longest commutes in the UK, spending more than 67 minutes on average getting to and from work every day, according to a new TUC analysis of official figures published today (Friday) to coincide with the end of Commute Smart Week, organised by Work Wise UK.

The TUC analysis shows that while commute times for men and women in their late teens and twenties are fairly similar, a huge gender divide starts to appear at 30, which never goes away.

Commute times for women peak in their late 20s at 54.6 minutes and then start to fall as they get older. Journey times for men however, continue to rise until they reach their early 40s, when they spend an average of 67.2 minutes commuting to and from work. Men in their early 40s spend an extra 17.4 minutes to travelling to work compared to women of the same age.

The TUC believes the main reason for this gender divide is the impact of childcare responsibilities, with many women in their 30s moving jobs to be closer to home so they can pick their children up from nursery and school. Meanwhile, many dads take on jobs even further from home in order to increase their earnings to cope with the high cost of childcare.

People living in London have by far the longest commutes, with men in their early 40s spending more than 81 minutes getting to and from work. Teenagers in the East Midlands have the shortest commutes in the country at just 29 minutes.

The TUC analysis shows that commute times have started to creep up again after a short fall during the recession. The average daily commute is now nearly five minutes longer than it was a decade ago, with workers spending an extra 4.5 days a year travelling to and from work.

The TUC believes that new technology and the changing nature of work could allow many more people to work flexibly or from home, and so avoid many miserable hours spent commuting.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Most people expect their earnings to rise as they get older. Unfortunately the length of time spent getting to and from work increases too.

“Long commutes are not always practical for those doing the nursery and school run, which is why mums tend to work closer to home. This move often involves them taking a huge pay cut too.

“But cutting the commute needn’t mean cutting pay too. New technologies such as super-fast broadband and skype should mean more workers are able to change the way they work, or work from home occasionally. This could reduce at least some of their costly and miserable rush-hour journeys.”

Work Wise UK’s Chief Executive Phil Flaxton said: “Now the season is changing, Commute Smart Week reminds us that we have an opportunity to change our attitudes and thinking in relation to work activities.

“Are we really prepared to move into winter with the same anticipated long and often disrupted commutes? Or are we going to change the way we work by commuting less with the aid of internet and mobile technologies.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Average daily commuting times (round trip), 2003–2012

Year

Length of daily commute (minutes)

2003

50.0

2006

52.4

2009

52.0

2012

54.6

Commute times by age and gender

Age

Male

Female

16-19

41.8

38.4

20-24

51.0

50.0

25-29

58.6

54.6

30-34

62.6

54.4

35-39

65.2

52.4

40-44

67.2

49.8

45-49

63.6

49.6

50-54

60.6

46.4

55-59

59.4

44.4

60-64

57.6

42

All over 16

60.2

49.2

Commute times by region and age

Age band

Region

16-19

20-24

25-29

30-34

35-39

40-44

45-49

50-54

55-59

60-64

All ages

North East

47.2

40.8

49.4

52.2

42.4

47.6

47.2

46.4

48.8

43.8

46.8

North West

33.8

49.0

54.0

61.2

57.8

54.8

49.4

52.0

47.4

44.0

51.8

Yorkshire and Humber

41.8

50.4

51.8

50.4

54.4

55.4

49.2

52.2

45.2

47.4

50.6

East Midlands

29.0

39.6

49.2

53.6

57.4

49.0

55.2

48.0

48.0

43.8

48.6

West Midlands

44.2

46.8

54.6

47.0

51.0

50.6

54.6

51.4

44.8

41.4

49.6

Eastern

38.2

56.2

48.2

63.2

68.2

64.0

57.2

55.0

61.0

54.0

58.6

London

66.8

77.8

79.8

80.8

76.6

81.2

77.8

73.0

69.8

66.4

77.2

South East

38.6

50.6

57.8

56.6

62.2

61.0

63.0

54.6

58.0

58.8

57.4

South West

34.6

39.8

43.8

49.2

46.8

53.4

55.4

45.4

45.0

49.2

46.8

UK

40.0

50.6

56.6

58.6

59.0

58.4

56.2

53.0

51.6

50.4

54.6

Source: Labour Force Survey

- The TUC’s campaign plan can be downloaded from www.tuc.org.uk/campaignplan

- More information about Commute Smart week is available at www.workwiseuk.org

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen   T: 020 7467 1248    M: 07778 158175    E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth    T: 020 7467 1372    M: 07717 531150     E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Phil Flaxton (Work Wise UK)    M: 07831 112639       E: phil@workwiseuk.org

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