Regardless of where you live and how you travel, the length of a commute has increased over the past decade—at the expense of our time, health and happinessby Alex Collinson / September 17, 2019 / Leave a comment
Every morning I wake up, wash, dress, eat some breakfast, and then spend roughly fifty minutes dragging, jostling and shimmying my groggy body onto trains and through crowds and into work. I hate commuting, and I am not alone. Commuting is, pretty much everyone agrees, an absolute dirge.
It also takes up a big chunk of our lives. TUC analysis has shown that the total average UK commute takes up just less than an hour per day (58.4 minutes). There are regional differences here, with Londoners having the longest commute (81 minutes). There are also big differences depending on the mode of transport, with those on trains, buses and the underground having the longest commutes (all of which are over an hour).
Commutes are also getting longer. Regardless of how you commute, and in pretty much every region, the length of a commute has increased over the past decade. For those who travel by train, they’re also more expensive. In the past ten years, rail fares have risen twice as fast as wages. Getting the bus is also becoming increasingly difficult, with council cuts leading to drastic falls in publicly subsidised bus travel and thousands of routes being cut back or scrapped completely since 2010.
Bus service cuts hit those in low income households the hardest, as they’re more likely than other income groups to travel by bus, and are already often priced out of rail travel. For those who are able to get the bus or train to work, neither offer the reliability they should. A fifth of those who don’t drive to work say that their commute is made more difficult due to unreliable public transport.
Driving to work instead doesn’t make things much easier. In the same survey, 40 per cent of those who travel to work by car said their commute was made difficult due to traffic congestion. That’s if it’s even an option; analysis by The Equality Trust shows that almost half of households in the lowest household income quintile, and 30 per cent in the second lowest, have no access to a car.
These long commutes impact on our health. Longer commute times are linked to increased stress and higher blood pressure and give us less time to do things that are good for us, like cooking healthier food, or getting more…