Commenting on the latest figures for commute times, published today (Thursday) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

‘The link between long commute times and high earnings suggests that transport costs are a huge barrier to people looking for work outside their local area.

‘Politicians with free travel passes often fail to understand that is impossible for people to afford long and expensive commutes for low-paid jobs.

‘With the availability of work varying greatly across the country, transport costs must be a more important factor for employment schemes.

‘These figures also show that while workers in and around London are put under extreme pressure with lengthy commutes and rising transport fares, petrol prices are what matters most outside the capital, where more than seven in ten people drive to work.

‘More investment is needed to encourage greater use of public transport outside London, while smarter working patterns, such as allowing people to vary start times or to work from home, would benefit workers and businesses throughout the country.’