Issue date
14 Nov 2018
The average daily commute in the North West in 2017 was 53 minutes (both ways). Getting to and from work in the North West now takes 4 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.

Rail commutes take longest

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.

Commute times are up in most areas

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 North West Lynn Collins 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.”

Editors note

Notes to editors:
- All figures are based on TUC analysis of figures from the ONS Labour Force Survey, using the latest figures for 2017, and figures for 2016 and 2007.

- It is assumed that the average worker commutes to and from work five days a week, 45 weeks a year (to account for 5.6 weeks of holiday and 1.4 weeks of sick leave). A working day is assumed to be 8 hours.

Average UK commute length (both ways):

 

2007

2017

Change 2007-2017

Mins per day

53.6

58.4

+4.8

Hours per year

201

219

+18

Commute lengths (both ways) in minutes by main mode of transport:

 

2007

2017

Change 2007-2017

Car, van, minibus

49.4

52.2

+2.8

Motorbike

44.0

50.0

+6.0

Bicycle

37.8

43.8

+6.0

Bus

71.6

78.6

+7.0

Train

126.8

130.6

+3.8

Underground

97.2

98.0

+0.8

Walk

27.2

29.2

+2.0

Commute lengths (both ways) in minutes by region where worker lives:

 

2007

2017

Change 2007-2017

North East

45.2

51.0

+6.0

North West

48.8

53.0

+3.6

Yorks and Humberside

49.6

52.6

+3.0

East Midlands

46.4

53.0

+4.4

West Midlands

48.2

52.4

+2.8

East of England

54.6

62.0

+5.8

London

76.8

80.8

+4.0

South East

57.4

62.0

+4.6

South West

45.4

51.6

+6.2

Wales

44.8

53.2

+8.4

Scotland

49.8

52.2

+2.4

Northern Ireland

46.2

46.0

-0.2

England

54.7

59.8

+5.1

- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.6 million working people who make up our 50 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

Contacts:

TUC
North West
James McKenna
07788 414 578
jmckenna@tuc.org.uk

UK Media Team
media@tuc.org.uk
020 7467 1248

Work Wise UK
Phil Flaxton
phil@workwiseuk.org
07831 112639