11 November 2015

With three million people spending over two hours commuting each day, employers are being urged to change the way their staff work.

Analysis by the TUC of official figures shows that there are now some three million people in the UK travelling for more than two hours to get to work. The figure has risen by 72% since 2004, when an estimated 1.7 million commuters had journeys of over two hours.

During the same period, the number of commuters travelling for three or more hours a day rose by 75% — from 500,000 to 880,000.

The TUC partly attributes the increases on the impact of the recession, with more people prepared to travel further to either keep or to get a job. In addition, higher rents and high house prices mean that many workers are unable to move to areas closer to their jobs, while a lack of investment in roads and railways means that some journeys take longer than they used to.

The average UK commuter now spends 11 hours and 42 minutes longer travelling to and from work each year than they did a decade ago.

The TUC’s analysis was published to mark Commute Smart Week, organised by Work Wise UK (http://bit.ly/1nzjSHs). Running from 8 to 14 November, the Week aims to raise awareness of how better ways of commuting during the winter months can be implemented.

More home and flexi-working could be introduced to allow people to cut their commutes and save money, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has suggested.

Phil Flaxton of Work Wise UK called on employers to be more flexible, to change the way their staff work and commute, and to help improve their wellbeing.