Research Breakdown

Finding 1. The average financial cost of a commute into London is now £5,294 per year or 13.9% of the average post-tax UK PR salary. The average cost of a flexible commute is £4,580 per year which is 12.1% of the average net UK PR salary, and in some cases is more expensive than a regular season ticket.

Sample commuter towns

Season ticket plus London travelcard

8-day per month flexi season ticket plus Oyster Zone 1-2 travel

% spent on commute

% spent on flexible commute

Basildon

£4,444

£3,168

11.68

8.33

Beaconsfield

£4,392

£4,376

11.54

11.50

Chatham

£5,656

£5,520

14.87

14.51

Chelmsford

£5,452

£4,992

14.33

13.12

Fleet

£5,244

£3,073

13.78

8.08

Guildford

£4,868

£4,870

12.80

12.80

Harlow

£5,072

£4,065

13.33

10.68

Hemel Hempstead

£5,524

£4,162

14.52

10.94

Luton

£5,720

£5,005

15.04

13.16

Maidstone

£5,596

£7,372

14.71

19.38

Oxford

£6,452

N/A

16.96

N/A

Reading

£5,768

N/A

15.16

N/A

Slough

£3,764

£3,368

9.89

9.89

Southend

£5,332

£3,844

14.02

10.10

St Albans

£4,784

£4,110

12.57

10.80

Tunbridge Wells

£5,812

£6,191

15.28

16.27

Worthing

£6,112

N/A

16.07

N/A

Average

£5,294

£4,580

13.91

12.11

Finding 2. The average daily time cost of a commute into London is close to two and a half hours per day when you combine the rail commute, travel to/from home to the station, and connecting London Underground travel to the office. Annually, this equates to employees giving away an average of £13,531 worth of unpaid overtime to get to the office, based on the PRCA census average UK PR salary.

Sample commuter towns

Time per day spent commuting (in hours)

Annual equivalent value in unpaid overtime

Basildon

2.27

£12,800.15

Beaconsfield

1.88

£10,635.42

Chatham

2.22

£12,517.79

Chelmsford

2.13

£12,047.20

Fleet

2.82

£15,906.07

Guildford

2.45

£13,835.46

Harlow

1.72

£9,694.23

Hemel Hempstead

1.73

£9,788.35

Luton

1.82

£10,258.94

Maidstone

3.33

£18,823.75

Oxford

2.95

£16,659.02

Reading

2.08

£11,764.84

Slough

2.17

£12,235.44

Southend

2.93

£16,564.90

St Albans

1.40

£7,905.98

Tunbridge Wells

2.68

£15,153.12

Worthing

4.15

£23,435.57

Average

2.40

£13,531

Finding 3. When you project this commuting time over a year, the average cost of a commute to London equates to 23.26 full 24-hour days per year. Over a ten-year period, this is 232 full 24-hour days, which is the equivalent of one full working year of 24-hour days of a person’s life after you have deducted holidays. In summary, employees spend the equivalent of one entire working year of their lives commuting over a ten-year period.

Sample commuter towns

Per year in days (24hr day)

Per ten-year period in days

Basildon

22.0

220.1

Beaconsfield

18.3

182.8

Chatham

21.5

215.2

Chelmsford

20.7

207.1

Fleet

27.3

273.5

Guildford

23.8

237.9

Harlow

16.7

166.7

Hemel Hempstead

16.8

168.3

Luton

17.6

176.4

Maidstone

32.4

323.6

Oxford

28.6

286.4

Reading

20.2

202.3

Slough

21.0

210.3

Southend

28.5

284.8

St Albans

13.6

135.9

Tunbridge Wells

26.1

260.5

Worthing

40.3

402.9

Average

23.26

232.62

Finding 4. For parents, commuting time means the requirement of additional wrap around childcare time and costs. The average cost of wrap around childcare for London commuters is £12.60 per day or £2,937 per year. This equates to an average of 7.7% of the commuter’s post-tax annual salary.

Sample commuter towns

Wrap around childcare cost per day based on UK average of £5.26 per hour

Wrap around childcare cost per year of 261 days less 28 days holiday

% net average salary spent on childcare

Basildon

£11.92

£2,777.98

7.3

Beaconsfield

£9.91

£2,308.18

6.1

Chatham

£11.66

£2,716.70

7.1

Chelmsford

£11.22

£2,614.57

6.9

Fleet

£14.82

£3,452.05

9.1

Guildford

£12.89

£3,002.67

7.9

Harlow

£9.03

£2,103.91

5.5

Hemel Hempstead

£9.12

£2,124.34

5.6

Luton

£9.56

£2,226.47

5.9

Maidstone

£17.53

£4,085.27

10.7

Oxford

£15.52

£3,615.46

9.5

Reading

£10.96

£2,553.29

6.7

Slough

£11.40

£2,655.42

7.0

Southend

£15.43

£3,595.03

9.4

St Albans

£7.36

£1,715.81

4.5

Tunbridge Wells

£14.11

£3,288.64

8.6

Worthing

£21.83

£5,086.16

13.4

Average

£12.60

£2,937

7.72

Finding 5. When you combine the annual cost of travel with the cost of wrap around childcare the average London commuter is paying out £8,230 of their post-tax salary per year to get to their London office. This equates to 21.6% of the average net UK PR salary.

Sample commuter towns

Cost of commute

Wrap around childcare cost per year of 261 days less 28 days holiday

Cost of commute plus wraparound childcare per working year

% of post-tax salary spent on travel and childcare expenses

Basildon

£4,444

£2,777.98

£7,221.98

18.98

Beaconsfield

£4,392

£2,308.18

£6,700.18

17.61

Chatham

£5,656

£2,716.70

£8,372.70

22.01

Chelmsford

£5,452

£2,614.57

£8,066.57

21.20

Fleet

£5,244

£3,452.05

£8,696.05

22.86

Guildford

£4,868

£3,002.67

£7,870.67

20.69

Harlow

£5,072

£2,103.91

£7,175.91

18.86

Hemel Hempstead

£5,524

£2,124.34

£7,648.34

20.10

Luton

£5,720

£2,226.47

£7,946.47

20.89

Maidstone

£5,596

£4,085.27

£9,681.27

25.45

Oxford

£6,452

£3,615.46

£10,067.46

26.46

Reading

£5,768

£2,553.29

£8,321.29

21.87

Slough

£3,764

£2,655.42

£6,419.42

16.87

Southend

£5,332

£3,595.03

£8,927.03

23.47

St Albans

£4,784

£1,715.81

£6,499.81

17.08

Tunbridge Wells

£5,812

£3,288.64

£9,100.64

23.92

Worthing

£6,112

£5,086.16

£11,198.16

29.43

Average

£5,294

£2,937

£8,230

21.63