Nearly one in ten Brits find happiness in ditching the daily commute

  • Cities happiest about saving money on commuting during lockdown revealed
  • Londoners will spend over £223,906² on commuting in their careers

Nearly one in ten (8%) UK adults¹ said saving money on commuting during the COVID-19 lockdown makes them happy.  But as lockdown restrictions are tightened once more with home working encouraged, how much could they save if they didn’t ever have to return to the office?

With greater emphasis again placed on working from home instead of the office,  Hitachi Personal Finance reveals the cities that are happiest ditching their daily commuting, revealing how much they potentially save working from home.

The top five cities that found happiness in being able to save money and time by not commuting are:

  1. Sheffield (15%)
  2. Belfast & Birmingham (11%)
  3. Liverpool & Newcastle (10%)
  4. Leeds (9%)
  5. London (8%)

Despite saving less than their counterparts in some other cities, those in Sheffield are happiest scrapping their commute, avoiding a cost of £89³ per month on travelling to and from the office. Over the average career length (47-years), people in Sheffield can expect to have spent a whopping £50,196³ on their daily commute.

Even though Brummie workers were the joint second happiest in the UK with being able to save money by working remotely, Birmingham offers the cheapest daily commute, with workers only spending on average £68² per month on travel. Over a worker’s career, this totals £38,352² spent getting to and from work.

In comparison, 11% of those from Belfast also said saving money on their commute made them happy, but travel costs are considerably higher than in Birmingham, with workers in the city spending an average of £99 per month⁵ on travelling to work. This means those in Belfast spend a huge £17,484² more over their career by commuting than those in Birmingham.

Although 10% of those in Liverpool and Newcastle said they find happiness during the pandemic by saving on their daily commute, Geordies spend considerably more; on average £140² a month, compared to Liverpudlians who spend £118 a month². This means over their entire careers, Geordies spend nearly £12,408² more getting to the office.

Commuters in Leeds can expect to incur higher travelling costs than their Yorkshire counterparts in Sheffield, spending £92,496² over their career on average. According to rail analysis⁴, commuters with season tickets could be paying as much as £1,000 more than the price in 2010 after a recent increase in fares. With these costs set to continue to rise, regular users of public transport can expect to pay even more in the coming years.

Despite Londoners spending the most on commuting a month, an average of £397², less than one in ten (8%) said that saving money on commuting and socialising brought them happiness during lockdown. However, 17% of citydwellers⁶ have been able to pay back debt using the money they’ve saved and a whopping 67% have also been able to add to their savings pots. Over a 47-year career, Londoners can expect to have spent a staggering £223,906² on commuting, more than any other city.

Commenting on the findings, Vincent Reboul, Managing Director at Hitachi Personal Finance, says:

“Whilst restrictions on many of the day to day things we enjoy has been detrimental to the way we live our lives, impacting our happiness and wellbeing, there has been one notable upside. Working from home and the associated cost savings made, combined with the time saved by ditching the daily commute has been a notable bright spot and source of happiness for a significant number of people.

“It’s interesting to see that Sheffield tops the list of the number of people who said saving time and money by not commuting made them happy, as this research reveals it is actually one of the cheapest cities to commute to. On the other hand, only 8% of Londoners said the savings made them happy despite having by far the most expensive commuting costs in the country.

“Cities in the north of England, including Sheffield, dominate the list of places where commuters are most happy to be able to ditch their daily commute. This may partly reflect the relatively poor infrastructure of public transport in the north of the country leading to delays and overcrowding from underinvestment of public transport in the region.

“With greater emphasis placed on working from home again as restrictions on our movements are tightened, commuters in major towns and cities may be hoping to adapt their lifestyle in the longer term. Many will seek a more blended approach in future, splitting their time working in the office and remotely appreciating the quality of life working from home brings whilst also making cost savings enabling their money to go further.”

To find out more about what brings us the most happiness, please visit:

Love Belfast
Belfast guide to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concerts, events, hotels, entertainment, special offers, news, gossip, travel, festivals and culture.

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