UK workers are spending an extra 18 hours a year commuting to work compared with a decade ago, the TUC has found.
Getting to and from work now takes five minutes longer than it did in 2008 – with drivers spending 52 minutes on the road to work and back (up by three minutes), and bus commuters setting aside 79 minutes a day (up by seven minutes). However, rail commuters face the longest journeys, taking an average of two hours and 11 minutes every day – an increase of four minutes on the last decade.
“It’s great we’re investing in high speed rail between some of our major cities,” says TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady.
“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.”
The report also found that BAME (Black and Minority Ethnic) workers tend to have a longer commute than their white counterparts – while the average commute for BAME workers is one hour and nine minutes, it is 57 minutes for white workers.
TUC spokesperson for race equality, Wilf Sullivan, explains that BAME workers are more likely to be in low-paid jobs and insecure jobs, which means they may have less options when it comes to choosing how to commute. “More expensive forms of transport will be harder to afford,” he says. “And because they are more likely to work nights, the bus may be the only option.”
O’Grady adds that employers can make a difference for their staff. “Home working and flexitime can cut journeys and help avoid the rush hour,” says O’Grady. “And if staff have fewer stressful journeys, they can focus better on their work.”
Copyright – Executive Grapevine.