Commuters across the UK are finding a way to beat the cost-of-living crisis by taking up cycling to work, as revealed by new research from Blackhawk Network (BHN).

The study shows that cycling to work can lead to average savings of £1,262 a year on commuting costs, a staggering increase of £512 compared to last year.

These significant savings come at a time when the nation is grappling with a cost-of-living crisis, causing many to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and sad about the mounting expenses of daily travel.

The findings emerged from research conducted by BHN in collaboration with Sapio for the 11th Cycle to Work Day.

The study shows that even though the potential savings are substantial, only 23 percent of respondents were fully aware of their commuting expenses, leaving a majority unaware of the magnitude of savings they could achieve.

Travel costs are increasing across the country

As travel costs rise all over the country, commuting has become a major financial burden for many. Last year, cycling to work saved employees an average of £750 annually. However, this year’s figures have skyrocketed to £1,262, with an even higher average of £1,600 for commuters within Greater London, compared to £1,400 last year. The financial strain of commuting evokes various negative emotions, with 59 percent of respondents expressing feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious, annoyed, angry, sad, or worried due to commuting expenses.

In 2023, one of the key challenges for employers is to encourage their employees to return to the office more frequently. This is where cycling comes into play. Given that 97 percent of respondents live and work in the same region, cycling to work becomes a viable and sustainable option.

What role can employers play to help?

Employers can play a crucial role in incentivising this shift back to the office by offering salary sacrifice schemes that make cycling to work more affordable for their staff. BHN’s survey indicates that 27 percent of employees believe cycling to work can help reduce costs, with the West Midlands having the highest number at 34 percent.

The research further reveals that almost half (48%) of employees would be more likely to return to the office if their employer offered a Cycle to Work Scheme as part of their benefits package. Cyclescheme, the UK’s leading Cycle to Work Provider and part of the BHN Extras employee benefits platform, allows staff to save 25-39 percent on bikes and accessories. For one in five respondents, this scheme would remove the main barrier that prevents them from cycling to work: not having access to a bike.

With commuting still a necessity for many, employees are actively exploring ways to cut costs on their travel. The rising daily cost of train tickets has led 85 percent of train commuters to seek alternative options. Over half (55%) of commuting employees have already changed or are considering changing their daily commute, with 60 percent opting for a different mode of transport.

Cutting costs

To save money, almost a quarter (23%) of respondents have started walking or cycling more instead of using cars or public transport. Additionally, 56 percent of commuters have already started cycling to work or are contemplating doing so, primarily driven by the cost savings. This represents an increase from 47 percent last year, and in Greater London, the numbers are even higher at 68 percent compared to 63 percent last year.

Adrian Warren, Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance and Director of Cyclescheme at BHN, acknowledged the financial challenges faced by many and highlighted how employers hold the key to the solution. With BHN Extras providing a salary sacrifice scheme that substantially cuts bike costs, employers can remove a major obstacle preventing employees from cycling to work, ultimately facilitating the return of employees to office spaces.

In conclusion, the 11th Cycle to Work Day serves as a timely reminder for commuters to consider the benefits of cycling to work, not only for their well-being but also for their wallets. By opting for this environmentally friendly and cost-effective mode of transportation, UK workers can make substantial annual savings, alleviating some of the financial strain caused by the cost-of-living crisis.

Employers can play a pivotal role in encouraging this shift by offering Cycle to Work Schemes as part of their benefits package, thereby motivating employees to return to the office and contribute to a more sustainable and cost-efficient future.

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.