The world’s worst commutes are revealed – is yours one of them?

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Emily Reynolds
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A new study has revealed the worst cities for commuting – and you probably won’t be surprised by what made the list… 

Hot carriages, long delays, the constant threat of someone’s sweaty armpit getting slightly too close to your face: commuting, let’s be honest, is pretty rubbish. 

Wherever you are, chances are your commute is not your favourite part of the day. But, it turns out, some cities are marginally better than others when it comes to navigating your way to work, with a new study from comparison site Expert Market revealing the best – and worst – cities for commuting. 

Researchers compared 74 global cities on a number of factors: cost of travel relative to income and ease, distance and time spent commuting. 

Rio de Janeiro topped the list, where workers spend on average 95 minutes getting to and from work every day on an average journey of 12.3km. 

Unsurprisingly, London did not do well. The cost of travelling for Londoners is, on average, £132 a month – around 5% of monthly earnings. 

Leicester fared a lot better – people using public transport in the city had the most straightforward journeys, to start, with only 32% having to change during a journey. Public transport was also high quality (the third best of all the cities reviewed), and time spent waiting for it was also low, at an average of 12 minutes.

You’re probably thinking you can escape the crush by driving to work instead of taking the tube: unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

According to the study, commuters who drive into work waste 51 hours a year sat in traffic – the equivalent of the number of hours worked by people in Mexico City every week. 

Fancy a total escape from your hellish commute? Moving to France may be the way forward.  Four French cities made the top ten: Toulouse, Lyon, Strasbourg and Nice, which the report crowned the best place to commute in. 

The French city had the lowest travel to earnings cost ratio of any city, with a travel card costing just £26 a month, and where getting to and from work takes just 40 minutes. 

“With so much focus internationally on productivity levels it is interesting to see so many countries subject their workers to lengthy often unpleasant journeys to and from work,” said Expert Market lead researcher Sean Julliard. 

“Topping and tailing your day with a lengthy car journey or being crammed into a train carriage must leave the workforce in all of these cities feeling exhausted and fed up. Remedying this might be a good way to improve the national product - not to mention alleviating a big source of stress for their population too!”

Top 10 cities to commute in

  1. Nice
  2. Cuenca
  3. Bilbao
  4. Toulouse
  5. Catania
  6. Bari
  7. Lyon
  8. Bologna
  9. Strasbourg
  10. Leicester

Bottom 10 cities to commute in

  1. Rio de Janiero 
  2. Bogota
  3. Sao Paulo
  4. Istanbul
  5. Salvador
  6. Toronto
  7. Brasilia
  8. Cali
  9. Miami
  10. London

Image: Getty / Unsplash


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Emily Reynolds

Emily Reynolds is a journalist and author based in London. Her first book, A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind, came out in February 2017 with Hodder & Stoughton. She is currently working on her second.