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Commuting costs UK economy Au260 m every day.

Summary: More than Au260 million-worth of working time is spent every day travelling to and from work, new research has revealed.

More than Au260 million-worth of working time is spent every day travelling to and from work, new research has shown.

A study by the TUC found that workers spent an average of 52.6 minutes commuting every day last year, rising to 78 minutes in London.

The average is down by only 1.4 minutes compared with 2007 despite the recession, which has seen a big increase in unemployment.

Workers in Wales and the South West had the shortest journeys to and from work at 41 and 44 minutes, while senior staff such as managers travelled further to the office than low-paid employees such as cleaners and labourers.

Part-timers spent less time getting to work than full-time employees, the research also found.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "UK staff experience a double whammy of working some of the longest hours in Europe and then spending nearly an hour every day getting to and from work.

"All that wasted working time spent stuck on crowded trains and congested roads costs the economy over a quarter of a billion pounds every year, not to mention the stress it causes staff and the time it means they miss spending with friends and family.

"Gender, pay and the amount of hours worked all affect average commute times. It seems the more you earn, the longer you have to travel to earn it. Parents who can't do long commutes because of school or nursery runs often have to take lower-paid work nearer home instead.

"With employers focused on getting through the recession, many will have taken their eye off the ball in offering flexible working. But remote working and flexible shifts can reduce commute times, save on office space and reduce energy costs - saving companies money and helping staff enjoy a better work-life balance."

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of campaign group Work Wise, added: "Commuting for long periods of time has become a part of the UK's working culture.

"The excessive time spent commuting is one of the main factors involved in the work-life balance issue. Not only is the amount of time commuting an issue, the 9-5 culture with its peak travel times generates congestion on the rail, underground and road networks and as a consequence, increases stress for commuters.

"The knock-on effect of reducing overall traffic congestion and public transport overcrowding by extending the rush hour and reducing peak demand through smarter commuting will make the daily commute more bearable for those workers that have no choice when and how to travel."

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Article Details
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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 10, 2009
Words:465
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Commuting costs UK economy Au260 m every day.
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Commuting costs UK economy Au260 m every day.

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