06 September 2019

  • Scotland’s commuters spend 418 days travelling to work at a cost of £32,385 over a lifetime

  • A quarter of workers (24%) say their commute has become more crowded over the past 5 years and 16% claim it is less reliable

  • Workers in the Highlands and Islands have the shortest and one of the cheapest commutes

Scottish workers are spending an average of nearly nine days a year (214 hours) travelling to and from work every year, at an annual cost of almost £700 (£689), according to new research by Bank of Scotland.

With an average journey time of 54 minutes each day, Scottish commuters are set to spend around 60 weeks’ worth of time (418 days) travelling to their job during their working life, at a total cost of £32,385.*

Part of Bank of Scotland’s ‘How Scotland Lives’ study, the nationwide analysis conducted in partnership with YouGov also found that despite the time and expense, over half of workers (56%) like their commute and one in 12 (8%) go as far as to say they love their journey into work.

But commuting clearly divides opinion, with one in five (22%) workers disliking their commute one in six (16%) saying it has become less reliable over the past five years, and a quarter (24%) claiming it is more crowded than half a decade ago.

Those in Edinburgh and the Lothians have the longest commute in Scotland

With an average daily commute of 66 minutes, people living in Edinburgh and the Lothians experience the longest journey to and from work in Scotland, considerably longer than commuters in Dundee (46 minutes) or Aberdeen (48 minutes).

Those living in Central Scotland (59 minutes) and Glasgow (56 minutes) also face higher-than-average commuting times. 

Central Scotland travellers fork out the most on commuting


Those living in Central Scotland fork out an average of £64 each month on commuting costs, totalling £768 a year, the highest amount spent by any Scottish region.

Those in West of Scotland spend slightly less, at £63 per month on average (£756 a year), while workers in Dundee have the cheapest journeys into work at £46 a month (£552 a year).

Sweet spot: the quickest, and one of the cheapest, commutes is in the Highlands and Islands

Workers in the Highlands and Islands have the best deal with the shortest, and one of the cheapest, commutes in Scotland, paying £47 each month (£564 a year) and undertaking a daily journey of 42 minutes.

Unsurprisingly, workers in this region are some of Scotland’s happiest commuters, with three quarters (72%) saying they either like or love their journey to and from work.

Driving is the most popular way to travel

The car is the most used mode of transport for commuting for all journey types, with over half (59%) of commuters completing their journey by car.

Almost a third walk to work (31%), one in five (21%) take the bus, 11% use the train, and just 7% choose to cycle.

Those in Glasgow (53%) and Edinburgh and the Lothians (52%) are the most likely to travel on public transport (52%) in Scotland; while those in the Mid-Scotland and Fife are most likely to commute by car (72%).  

Younger commuters aged 18-24 are the most likely to use public transport (42%) or walk to work (41%), while those aged over 55 are the most likely to drive (63%).

Ricky Diggins, Director at Bank of Scotland, said: “Commuters in Scotland are spending almost £700 a year on their journey to and from work - the equivalent of a city break to sunny Europe. While many may dream of rolling out of bed and straight into the office, the daily commute is the perfect opportunity to invest in yourself, whether that’s keeping up with the latest news, unwinding to a podcast or relaxing to some music.”


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