Long commutes to work in decline

The number of people spending more than one hour per day commuting to work fell slightly in 2007, according to TUC analysis of official statistics.

The analysis of the Labour Force Survey shows a fall of 1%, from 21.9% (5,517,000 people) in 2006 to 20.9% (5,311,000 people) of employees undertaking commuter journeys of longer than one hour.

The drop in commute times follows a campaign to promote smarter working by the WorkWise UK coalition, which includes the TUC, the CBI, Transport for London and other leading organisations. Smarter working includes working from home and flexible hours schemes.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘In the UK we work some of the longest hours in Europe, and on top of this we still have to commute an average of 54 minutes per day. This adds up to a very stressful working week for millions of workers across the UK.

“The decline in long commutes, which predates the current difficulties with the economy, shows that smarter working has finally begun to bite.”

People working in London are still most likely to commute for more than one hour each day, but the percentage of long-hours commuters in the capital fell sharply last year, with 7.2% fewer (101,000 employees) undertaking lengthy commutes.

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