Hayes & Harlington Gazette


Travelling by car is by far the most common way to commute to work according to the latest census data


Aquick Google Image search for commuting in the UK suggests that our perception­s don’t quite match up to the reality. Top of the list are pictures of packed trains, rammed platforms and long queues at bus stops. However, the reality is that far more people take the car to work than any other form of transport.

As part of the 2021 Census, participan­ts were asked how they usually got to work.

Just one out of every 50 commuters in England and Wales (2%) said that it was by train.

That makes trains about as popular as cycling, and half as popular as the bus.

The most popular form of commuting is driving a car or van, at 45%.

A further 4% said that they were usually passengers in a car, and another 1% said that they usually got a taxi.

That means 50% of commuters travel by some sort of car.

Those packed undergroun­d photos we see on the news? Well, like with trains, just 2% of commuters usually get the undergroun­d, tram, metro or other light rail.

There are variations by region, but for most of the country the car is king.

Of the 332 local authoritie­s in England and Wales, 277 had driving a car or van as their top way of commuting. In the remaining 55 areas, people were most likely to work from home and therefore didn’t commute.

A total of 11 local authoritie­s had fewer than 10% of commuters usually using their cars to get to work, and perhaps unsurprisi­ngly they were all in London - Camden, City of London, Hackney, Hammersmit­h and Fulham, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, and Westminste­r.

The undergroun­d or other light rail is at its most popular in Newham, where 23% of commuters used it as their main way of getting to work. That’s followed by Waltham Forest (18%), Barking and Dagenham (16%), and Haringey (16%).

The train is at its most popular in Bexley where 10% of commuters use it as the main way to get to work. That’s followed by Barking and Dagenham, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lewisham, and Newham at 9% each.

Southwark is the top spot for buses, with 14% of commuters using it as their main way to get to work. That’s followed by Hounslow (13%), Brent (13%), Lambeth (12%), and Nottingham (12%).

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed something of a pattern emerging here - London dominates the areas where public transport is most used.

There are 11 local authoritie­s in England and Wales where public transport is the main form of commuting for more than 25% of residents - Newham (41%), Barking and Dagenham (36%), Brent (33%), Haringey (31%), Waltham Forest (30%), Greenwich (29%), Lewisham (27%), Southwark (27%), Ealing (26%), Lambeth (26%), and Redbridge (26%).

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