The daily commute to work is something to be put up with rather than enjoyed, yet how we get there and how long it takes has an impact on how we feel. That’s hardly surprising when you consider that the average worker in Britain spends 54 minutes commuting each day. This important and ever-increasing chunk of the working week doesn’t come without its costs – and they are not just financial. According to the Office for National Statistics, feelings of happiness, life satisfaction and the sense that one’s activities are worthwhile all decrease with every successive minute of travel to work. This is what constitutes personal wellbeing and, in general, the longer the commute the more it shrinks. Lengthy commutes, between an hour and an hour-and-a-half long, have the most negative effect on personal wellbeing, the ONS research found, while taking the bus to work on a journey lasting more than 30 minutes was the commuting option most likely to give us the grumps.
The 2011 census tells us that 7.2% of working people in England and Wales travel by bus or coach to work, compared to 5% by train and 3.8% by underground or tram. The large majority, 59%, drive or get a lift in a car or van.