The UK regions with the longest and shortest daily commutes revealed

Commuters are spending longer and longer getting to and from work with those travelling by rail taking more than two hours every day, a new study has revealed.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) study which has been released to mark Work Wise UK’s Commute Smart Week, shows that workers across the country take an average of 27 days a year getting to and from work after travel times increased by five minutes a day compared to a decade ago. Rail passengers face the longest journeys at an average of two hours 12 minutes a day, compared with 52 minutes for drivers and 39 minutes for those who travel by bus.

Londoners face the longest journey times in the country with the average standing at 1 hour and 21 minutes each day – up by 6 minutes in the last decade. Welsh workers have the shortest daily commute in Great Britain, at 49 minutes with every English region now facing an average commute time of over 50 minutes a day. The data shows that only those travelling on the London underground have experienced a cut in their journey times since 2006.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We’re now spending 27 working days a year going to and from work. That’s wasted time, which could have been better spent with family and friends. Commutes should be getting shorter, but inflexible bosses and our cash-starved transport system mean we’re wasting more and more time getting to work. It doesn’t have to be like this. Home working and less rigid hours would take pressure off road and rail. And serious government investment could give us a transport network that’s up to the job.”

The TUC is blaming growing commutes on three main factors - low government spending on transport infrastructure; employers not offering flexible and home working; real wages falling while property prices soar, making it hard to move closer to work.

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise, which promotes flexible working, commented: "This should act as a wake-up call to employers to change their outdated attitudes to commuting. Year on year, the UK's roads and public transport infrastructure become more congested. It's time to act to protect the health and wellbeing of the weary commuter. Not only are long commutes bad for our health, but they can affect our ability to concentrate at work.

Commute lengths (both ways) in minutes by main mode of transport:

  2006 2016 Change2006-2016
Car, van, minibus 48.4 52.2 +3.8
Motorbike 46.6 52.2 +5.6
Bicycle 35.2 43.4 +8.2
Bus 71 78.2 +7.2
Train 127.6 131.8 +4.2
Underground 98.4 95.8 -2.6
Walk 26.8 29.8 +3
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