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Commuter Hell Revealed

Monday, August 7, 2017

 

 

Shocking new figures underline need for transport investment and fair working conditions.

New research from GMB, Britain’s general union, shows how average journey times to work have slowed down over the last five years.

The study, which is based on the latest official statistics, shows that the average commute from home to work increased from 27 to 29 minutes between 2011 and 2016. [1]

For the UK’s 16 million drivers, this equated to up to 14 extra hours behind the wheel last year, or 230 million hours shared between all drivers.

Rail passengers endured the longest average journeys, with the average passenger facing a gruelling 66 minute commute to work.

Bus and motorbike journeys to work suffered some of the biggest increases in commuting times.

Only London Underground and light rail passengers reported faster journeys, following investment in existing and new lines.

The figures suggest that some people in insecure work face much longer journeys, with agency workers reporting that their travel to work lasted a quarter longer than average. 

Eight of the areas with the ten longest average commutes were in London, and all were in the South. [2]

The union said today that worsening congestion, insecure employment, unaffordable housing and the Government’s failure to invest in transport networks were all factors in the slowdown.

Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary, said:

"A couple of minutes on your journey to work might not sound like much to some people, but that works out at 14 hours a year stuck in traffic instead of being at home with loved ones.

“This isn’t just bad for commuters and the economy – it’s a huge strain on the people who build and maintain our transport infrastructure, as well as public transport workers like our members in the bus industry.

“The slowdown is partly down to a runaway housing market and employers placing ever more unreasonable demands on people’s working patterns.

“But it’s also the responsibility of Tory Ministers who have slashed funding for fixing our pothole-ridden local roads, cut subsidies for local buses and broken their promises for investment in our roads and railways.

“These shocking figures are also yet more proof that so-called ‘flexible working’ is often anything but, with agency and shift workers facing much longer average commutes than people on permanent contracts.

“Longer commutes are a huge detriment to ordinary workers, who are already facing real-terms pay cuts, pension scheme devaluations, extra hours and worsened job security when they do get to work.

“If this Government really cares about helping ‘ordinary working families’ then it must urgently sort out the commuter hell that is keeping Britain in the slow lane.”

ENDS

Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes to editors

[1] GMB analysis of unpublished responses to Department for Transport sponsored questions asked in the ONS Labour Force Survey, October to December editions 2011 and 2016.

Reported average (mean) journey times from home to work by major transport modes

 

 

Car, van, minibus

Motorbike, moped, scooter

Cycle

Bus, coach

Rail

Light rail

Walk

Rounded journey times (minutes)

2011

25

22

20

37

64

48

14

2016

26

27

22

39

66

48

15

Non-rounded change 2011-2016 (minutes)

 

1.6

5.8

1.5

2.1

2.1

-0.5

0.4

Individual extra hours per year*

 

13.9

50.1

12.8

18.2

17.9

-3.9

3.6

Number of commuters

 

16,490,487

175,016

819,237

1,696,452

1,443,288

920,127

2,506,399

Total extra hours per year

 

229,875,125

8,769,672

10,457,824

30,878,419

25,839,247

-3,603,527

9,134,805

 * Based on extra journey times twice per day, five days a week, fifty two weeks a year. As these figures does not include holiday time, they represent a maximum estimate.

Average journey to work times by occupation and contract type

Prison Officers

44

Energy and water sector workers

38

Agency workers**

36

Construction workers

36

On-call workers

33

Social workers

33

Temporary workers

30

All workers average

29

** This figure is for people who reported being paid through an employment agency. As the question on self-identification as an agency worker is not asked in the fourth quarter of the Labour Force Survey, this has been used as a proxy measure.

[2] Local authorities with the longest average (mean) commutes in minutes

  Richmond upon Thames

50

  Greenwich

48

  Chiltern

47

  Bexley

47

  Redbridge

46

  Merton

46

  Wandsworth

44

  Croydon

44

  Dartford

43

  Bromley

43

ONS, Average home to work travel time, ages 16 and over: Oct to Dec 2016, 20 July 2017 https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/adhocs/007252averagehometoworktraveltimeages16andoverocttodec2016

Picture used under creative commons from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/25797459@N06/7710061424/in/photolist-cKj5Dw-5QxsbZ-8YJ8gJ-cYqgs-pnpfEQ-chzcDq-bLVkce-kJAgkx-bUGsh5-6ghzSn-as3nv8-6NrWWY-32Fa2P-7wnsvf-djG5ad-qkDd6p-qjdtVB-7G4iap-78spVH-FpTDY-fxRPXS-fe1qx5-fMKDAa-eZUau1-fN3hyd-96vas6-cBq3uG-3G5Dkh-bjeGZp-bK7XYr-fN3iuo-4TTBnx-9WDSXi-58tprx-fMJdFX-eQbqet-4sMJ6u-7wiDC8-74d8Yc-58zhFw-e7NJip-XVdzg-C9of7-J9P29-8nLH5N-3WajN-e3prw8-4ux4r4-58xyJh-6qKJGg

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