/ Travel & Leisure

Would you move house to avoid commuting?

Toy train dragging a toy house

Getting to work isn’t nice at the best of times. Unless you live within walking distance you never know how long it’ll take, making us slaves to public transport. But would you move to make your journey easier?

Train overcrowding looks set to get worse in future, and come January there’ll be one more thing to add to the misery – rising fares.

Overall, fares will rise by an average of 6.2% but some unlucky commuters could be paying up to 13% more. Steep.

It looks like these drastic times are forcing people to resort to very drastic measures, with commuters saying they’d rather move house or job than continue to travel to work in this way.

How journeys will be changing

The research was carried out by reed.co.uk, and out of the 3,000 people it surveyed, 7% said they planned to make transport changes purely to avoid fare rises. An additional 6% planned to move house or job over the next 12 months just for an easier commute to work.

My journey is relatively straightforward, although it does involve getting an underground and overground train. While both services are often delayed or disrupted in some way, I won’t be rearranging my whole life to make my journey easier.

But, having listened to the ongoing gripes of colleagues who have much longer commutes, I can understand why some feel that enough is enough. Cancellations, extreme lateness and packed carriages are the norm.

The cost on the environment

And if I haven’t depressed you enough already, it gets worse. The report shows that people are also planning to return to their cars, predicting a rise of 6% driving to work next year.

That may not sound like a lot, but they’ll all be driving on their own. Then consider that people won’t be using greener travel options (like cycling and park-and-ride) any more than they do already. Plus, car-sharing, walking and running are all predicted to go down. All of a sudden, these transport increases seem to be having a very costly effect on the environment.

But the sad reality is that helping the environment usually comes bottom of a long commuting wishlist. I don’t blame people for choosing speed and comfort over longer, busier journeys, but I do wish they had some better options.


I certainly wouldn’t move home to avoid commuting – I spend 15 hours a day at home – and all weekend. I’d sooner change jobs (by design my job is still in demand). It might be different if I had to commute say 6 hours a day – but then I wouldn’t take a job that required a 3 hour a day commute each way.


I quit a job outside of Cambridge so I could walk to work! the A14 is horrible every day (my drive was supposed to be only 15 minutwes long) but most days I would be late. I would rather be fit, walk or bike to work. I am not sure how people can spend the time commuting to London when in the long run, you don’t make as much when taking in account your travel expenses and your time. Many have 2 hour commutes! When do you see your family or friends? No Thanks!

Sophie Gilbert says:
9 December 2010

This depends on many factors, doesn’t it? One is whether the job is worth the hassle. Another is if the job is secure. In this current climate I would hesitate to move house to be closer to a job that I may lose tomorrow. And another factor is house prices. In Edinburgh it is an understatement to say that they have become inflated out of all reasonable proportion. This is of course partly because of the crazy Scottish system of having to blind bid against each other. I wouldn’t be able to move if I wanted to because I don’t think I could afford it.