July 16, 2024

Survey highlights commute/business travel confusion

The distinction between commuting and business travel and becoming increasingly blurred as the number of UK commuters with journeys to work of at least 90 minutes has almost doubled following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those are among the findings of Trainline Partner Solutions’ April survey of 1,004 train-using ‘supercommuters’ – people whose travel to the workplace takes 90 minutes or more. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) travel to London and the phenomenon occurs across the country.

Hybrid working is a key factor in the number of supercommuters who travel to their workplace at least twice a week increasing by 47%. On average, respondents spent three days a week in the office.

Achieving a greater work-life balance (34%), reducing the cost of living (29%) and more opportunities for their family (29%) were among the reasons respondents said they were willing to undertake a longer commute.

“Businesses need to ensure their travel policies suit the new trends of the hybrid working era. For example, we’ve found over two-thirds of supercommuters viewing their commute as similar in nature to business travel, and four out of five link their office trips to specific business purposes. Have businesses updated their travel policies with this in mind?” said Alice Coverlizza, Vice President of Trainline Partner Solutions.

The majority (78%) of rail supercommuters typically make their journeys in one day. Over half said their company covers travel costs (59%) and accommodation when it’s required (57%).

Maintaining strong bonds with colleagues or clients was deemed an important reason by 93% of respondents to travel to the workplace.

Another Trainline survey of 1,001 commuters with journeys of under 90 minutes revealed that 51% would be willing to move further from their workplace and ‘supercommute’ by rail with achieving a better work-life balance the primary motivation (63%). More than four-fifths (84%) would be willing to spend at least 75 minutes on the train.

“As the number of UK rail supercommuters is projected to continue growing, it also highlights the need across the industry to provide travellers with simple and seamless access to rail content. Greater industry collaboration and open APIs can provide access to the best routes, fares and journey times from multiple carriers in a format familiar to business travellers,” added Coverlizza.

She suggests that partnerships between carriers and third-party ticket retailers can improve access to rail travel, grow the market for carriers and make lower-carbon travel simpler for travellers.

“In countries where this isn’t already in place simplifying distribution models to allow accredited specialists to streamline retailing for businesses would be a significant breakthrough, benefiting both travellers and the rail industry alike,” added Coverlizza.

“The commute is a key part of ever-evolving working patterns in the UK, and these findings highlight the need for both workplaces and the broader travel ecosystem to keep apace of these trends,” she concluded.