Voice of the Employee

More people have a long journey to work, with an estimated 3.7 million now commuting for over two hours a day, a study shows.

The number of employees with daily commutes to and from work of two hours or more has jumped by almost a third over the past five years, said the TUC.

Research by the union organisation found that the proportion of workers travelling two hours or more to and from work every day has risen from one in nine to one in seven.

More women have long journeys to get to work, especially in sectors such as education, health and social care, said the report.

Workers in Northern Ireland have experienced the biggest rise in commuting times, followed by those in the South East and East of England, said the TUC.

Commuting times for workers using buses or London Underground have fallen by up to five minutes a day, while increasing for other forms of transport such as rail or car, the study revealed.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “None of us like spending ages getting to and from work. Long commutes eat into our family time and can be bad for our working lives too.

“Employers cannot turn a blind eye to this problem. More home and flexible-working would allow people to cut their commutes and save money.

“But if we are to reduce the pain of traffic jams and train delays, ministers need to invest more in public transport and our roads. Next week’s Autumn Statement is the perfect opportunity to do this.”

Phil Flaton, of campaign group Work Wise, said: “Long commutes have become a part of the UK’s working culture. The excessive time spent commuting is one of the main factors contributing to work-life balance problems.

“Not only is the amount of time commuting an issue, the 9 to 5 culture with its peak travel times generates congestion on railways, underground and road networks and as a consequence, increases stress for commuters.

“Clearly the Government, public transport providers and employers must do more in order to address the major negative impact on the UK’s economy and lost productivity.”

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