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Travel Chaos: The True Cost - Tonight

Travel Chaos: The True Cost will be on ITV on 8th February at 7:30pm Photo: ITV/Tonight

Traffic on our roads is on the rise, and the number of people using our packed railways is set to double in the next 25 years. Tonight Jonathan Maitland investigates the miserable commutes facing millions of people.

Train fares have risen by a whopping 25 per cent over the past seven years, twice as fast as wages. Some season tickets have gone up by a massive 40% in the same period.

Claire Henderson lives in Kent and works part time as a legal secretary in London. Travelling by train would cost her nearly half of what she earns in a day. Her only alternative is to spend a total of up to five hours of her day driving to and from work.

Claire Henderson feels out priced on train fares. Credit: ITV/Tonight

“I feel like I’ve been out priced, it’s not a viable option for me to get the train because it is just too expensive.”

– Claire Henderson

Claire would like to see train companies offering flexible season tickets for people like her who travel two days a week. If this doesn’t happen, she’s considering cutting out the commute altogether, and getting a job closer to home.

The government says the annual price hikes increase investment in our railways.

Jonathan Maitland spoke to Lord Andrew Adonis about the cost of problematic commutes.

Lord Andrew Adonis speaks to reporter, Jonathan Maitland about the true cost of travel chaos Credit: ITV/Tonight

“If people can’t get to work fast, efficiently and reliably then employment levels go down and national economy gets weaker.“

– Lord Andrew Adonis

On the roads alone, it’s estimated congestion will cost the economy more than £300 billion pounds by 2030. But at the end of 2017 Highways England announced that 22 road upgrade projects would either delayed or postponed indefinitely.

Head of roads policy at RAC, Nick Lyes Credit: ITV/Tonight

“Some of these schemes may not be done for another eight years.”

– Nick Lyes, Head of roads policy at RAC

Highways England say they’ve done this to get the best value for money out of investment and minimise disruption on our roads.

In addition to the personal cost and economic cost, could there also be a cost to our wellbeing? Latest research shows that long commutes are causing poor health as well as reduced productivity. A study conducted by Vitality Health showed people with commutes taking under half an hour gained an extra seven days of productive time every year .

Matt Top lives in Lancashire and commutes to work for the NHS in Manchester.

It’s a thirty four mile journey door to door. He faces either a heavily congested drive on the M60 and M62, or a crowded train journey.

“The commute has an impact on the quality of my life.”

– Matt

Matt agreed to take part in a Tonight experiment to find out more about how his commute could be affecting his stress levels and overall health. We fitted a device to measure Matt’s heart rate during his journeys. On the programme, Dr Ellie Cannon reveals the results.

Useful links:

National Rail Enquiries - The cheapest fare finder from National Rail Enquiries shows the lowest possible fare for all UK train operators on all routes.

Highways England - Improvements and major road projects search tool

Vitality Health commuter health study, delivered in partnership with the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer

Equivital - Human monitoring equipment used in the Tonight stress test experiment.

  • Travel Chaos: The True Cost will air on Thursday 8th February at 7.30pm on ITV

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