Low-paid people — already excluded from being able to afford to live in or near central London — are disproportionately affected by high travel costs, a new report says.
The report [PDF] also found that one in five London workers chooses the cheapest route to work rather than the shortest or most convenient, while around the same number make sacrifices in other areas of their expenditure to pay for travel.
Living on the Edge was commissioned by London Councils, London TravelWatch and Trust for London and shows that, while low-paid people are excluded from central London due to the high cost of housing, they still commute to cleaning jobs and manual work in hotels and offices located in Zone 1.
Cllr Julian Bell of London Councils said: "On average, Londoners spend around 7% of their monthly earnings on travel to work, but low earners are spending almost 10%. Combined with housing and living costs the odds are increasingly stacked against people on lower incomes.
"This report raises real concerns over how the quality of life of many thousands of Londoners is affected by the cost of travel. People have no choice but to put up with high travel costs if they want to access the jobs available in central London, but the cost of travel is the same if you’re earning £15,000 or £50,000 a year."
Research found the average London worker needs to work for 44 minutes per day to pay for daily commuting costs; this increases sharply to 54 minutes for those earning £200 to £599 per month and 1 hour 56 minutes for those earning less than £200 per month.
Recommendations in the report include a concessionary fare for low-income workers; improving awareness of existing discounts; making it easier to obtain season ticket loans; reintroducing off-peak travelcards to benefit flexible work schedules; and encouraging employers to cover travel costs to interviews for low-paid jobs.
- The news comes as TfL announces 4 December was its busiest day ever, with 4.821m customers. That week was also the busiest in the tube’s history with 28.76m journeys, beating the previous record of 28.69m journeys set in the week ending 31 October.