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  • The average British worker spends 125 hours a year commuting
  • Plus another 65 hours stuck in traffic, sat in delays or waiting for public transport
  • This works out as 8,084 hours – or 337 days, just under a year 

Working 9 – 5, what a way to make a living…unless you’re clocking up unpaid hours on the commute each day, that is.

The eight hour work day is a myth, with British workers spending thousands of hours each year simply getting to and from their place of work.

Polling the UK, Car Parts 4 Less found out how much of the nation’s time and money is spent commuting, and which mode of transport is the biggest culprit for lengthy journeys.

Half of UK workers (51%) spend an hour or more each day travelling to and from work, with one in ten (10%) paying £90-100 a month for the liberty of doing so. It’s not just the commute itself eating up time either; over a third (38%) spend an additional 15 minutes sat in traffic, delays or waiting for public transport, with a further one in five (21%) waiting 30 – 45 minutes every day.

It’s those taking the underground who fare the worst. 35% of those who get the tube spend at least 75 minutes onboard each day, and only 5% have a commute of less than 45 minutes a day. That doesn’t even take into consideration the time spent waiting on the platform; a quarter (26%) spend an additional 45 – 60 minutes each day doing so.

Surprisingly, trains are the lesser of two evils when it comes to transport on tracks. While the overall mean time for commuting by underground is 82 minutes, the same journey for those travelling by train is a whole 7 minutes faster at just 75 minutes. Waiting times for trains are a little less too; the average time spent waiting is 33 minutes for those on train, and 44 minutes for those who get the underground.

Taking the bus is an even quicker commute; one in three (34%) who use the bus spend 45 – 60 minutes on their daily commute; and with half (48%) paying £20 or less a month for this form of travel, it’s not surprising that the majority (40%) believe they pay an acceptable amount for their commute.

Those who get to work by car have the shortest commute time; a fifth (21%) spend less than 15 minutes a day in their vehicle, and a further 21% spend less than half an hour on the road. Only one in four (25%) spend an hour or more for both journeys combined.

Those who commute by car also pay less for their travel; one in five (20%) pay between £10 and £20 a month on petrol, and over half (54%) think the amount they pay is acceptable for their journey length. Those who travel by car are also happier with their commute. When asked to rate their commute out of 10, those who travel to work by car rated their journey at an average of 8, compared to 7 for train, bus and underground.

Londoners are more likely to say they ‘pay far too much’ for their commute than any other city, with a quarter (23%) agreeing to this statement, compared to just 18% of Mancunians and 13% of Brummies.

Londoners also spend more of their day commuting (70 minutes); those living in Leeds spend 62 minutes while Manchester spends just 54 minutes. It’s perhaps not surprising then that Londoner’s average satisfaction score is less than any other city at just 7.6.

Table: Average journey time and satisfaction score for different transportation methods

Average based on mean

Method of Travel Average journey time (minutes)

Not including delays/ waiting time

Average satisfaction score /10
Car 56 minutes 8
Bus 60 minutes 7.5
Train 75 minutes 7.4
Underground 82 minutes 7.3

A spokesperson from Car Parts 4 Less said: “The amount of time people spend commuting is hard to believe.

“No one wants to spend their day crammed together on public transport like sardines in a tin, particularly not early in the morning – and definitely not for over an hour each day.

“While there is no denying that in some cities, such as London, driving might not be practical, our research shows that anyone who can switch their commute up will probably see their day shorten dramatically. Car shares are a great option for those who don’t own their own car, and is much more environmentally friendly than driving solo. Just try and find someone with the same taste in music as you!”

To find out how to imporve your commute, visit

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