Fleet News

Commuters face longer journey times, says GMB

Average journey times to work have slowed over the past five years, new research from the union GMB shows.

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.

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 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.

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.”

However, Matthew Walters, head of consultancy at LeasePlan UK, told Fleet News: “Our own research has shown the car is actually the preferred way to travel home after a long day with over 84% choosing their own car and less than 1% (0.3%) would choose to take the tube.

“The time spent driving also gives people a chance to relax and wind down from work, with a third (32%) of drivers actually feeling relaxed behind the wheel and just under half of professionals questioned (35-44 year olds) said they use their car as a way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life for some ‘me time’.

“While the overall travel time may have gone up our research suggests that drivers aren’t unhappy about it and actually just love to drive and be able to move how they please.”

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.

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.
 
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

 

 


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