Employees spend nearly 200 hours
a year travelling to and from work - adding up
to around five extra working weeks - according to a
TUC analysis of official statistics published today
(Monday) to mark the start of the UK's Commute Smart
week (14-18 November).
The statistics show that:
The average commute times for
men are 26 per cent greater than for women - an
average of 6.2 minutes longer on each commuting
Men spend an average of 219
hours commuting per year, compared to 174 hours
for women - a gap of 45 hours over the 12
The gender commuting gap is
biggest in the South East (8.8 minutes for each
journey), the East of England (8.6 minutes) and
Scotland (7 minutes).
The gap is smallest in London
(3.3 minutes for each journey) and the North
East (3.6 minutes). Women in London have longer
average commute times than men who work in every
other part of the UK.
London has the longest commute
times for both male and female workers at 37.8
minutes per journey each way, while Northern
Ireland has the shortest at 22.4 minutes.
A recent report from the Office for
National Statistics (ONS) also found that workers
with the longest commutes tend to earn more than
those with shorter journeys to work.
With increasing congestion on the
roads and public transport problems significantly
adding to people's commute times, the TUC is calling
on employers to offer smarter flexible working
options to help staff avoid unnecessary and costly
Next year's London Olympics offers
the perfect opportunity for workers in the capital
to embrace smarter working such as home working and
staggered start and finish times, says the TUC.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber
'Unnecessary long commutes are
frustrating and expensive for staff, and bad for
'Smarter working must be part of
the modern economy. Staff want greater access to
flexible and high quality home-working and
employers need to do more to provide it.
'The link between long commutes
and better pay is a concern as it can
discriminate against women, who still bear the
greatest share of childcare responsibilities,
and do more than their fair share of work in the
home. Eliminating the need for long commutes can
also broaden access to a wider range of jobs for
those unable to travel from home.
'With the 2012 Olympics set to
bring many more people to the UK, employers and
unions should consider how they can work
together to manage the expected congestion and
cut out some of these unnecessary rush-hour