Commute causes misery for thousands

Commute causes misery for thousands

Commuting long distances makes people miserable, according to new research, with those who have to travel for an hour to an hour and a half the most dejected.

The report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that commuters have lower life satisfaction, a lower sense that their daily activities are worthwhile, are less happy and have higher anxiety levels than non-commuters.

It compiled data concerning 60,000 people in the UK from the Annual Population Survey, of which 91.5% travelled to get to work.

Respondents were asked how satisfied they are with their lives; the extent to which they feel their activities are worthwhile; how happy they felt the day before being surveyed and how anxious they felt the previous day, as well as aspects of their daily commutes.

Commuters were found to have small, but statistically significant lower scores on all measures, with effects on personal well-being the greatest for anxiety and happiness.

RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams said: "There are stresses associated with all forms of commuting, but driving gives commuters a level of control and flexibility that they perhaps don't have with rail, what with set departure times, frequent delays and the frustration of standing room only.

"Regular car commuters tend to enjoy the freedom to choose alternative routes when they face delays through congestion, roadworks or weather conditions, and they always can count on getting a seat, all without the fear of having to talk to someone else."

The report also discovered that the longer the commute, the more profound the effects on the individual.

Between 61 and 90 minutes was identified as the worst length of time to travel.

Copyright Press Association 2014