The rise of supercommuters linked to adoption of flexible and hybrid working

New research from Trainline claims that the number of UK “supercommuters” using rail to travel longer distances to work has doubled since Covid. Almost half (47 percent) of current supercommuters surveyed made the lifestyle change either during or post-pandemic, and over four in five (84 percent) of these new supercommuters say hybrid working has enabled this switch in their commuting habits.

Trainline’s survey of 1,000 rail supercommuters, defined as journeys to work of at least 90 minutes, highlights that supercommuters are still regulars at their desks – spending an average of three days a week in the office. Despite most supercommuters spending at least 2 hours travelling in each direction (65 percent), it is important for many to find a balance between working from home and the office. The majority (93 percent) believe it’s important they commute often enough to maintain strong bonds with their colleagues and clients.

Three-quarters of supercommuters (73 percent) surveyed said they are happier with a longer commute than they would be living closer to work. Lifestyle considerations are key to these employees deciding to undertake a longer commute, such as achieving a greater work-life balance (34 percent), a reduced cost of living (29 percent) and more opportunities for their family (29 percent).

The top destination for most super commuters (27 percent) is London, but the phenomenon can be seen across the country with other popular cities including Manchester (6 percent), Nottingham (5 percent), and Birmingham (5 percent).

Trainline also surveyed a group of 1,000 regular UK commuters to assess the potential growth in the number of rail supercommuters. Just over half (51 percent) said they would be open to supercommuting in the future, with achieving a better work-life balance the number one motivation (63 percent). The majority of this number (84 percent) would be willing to spend at least 75 minutes on the train.

“Not only are these rail supercommuters on the rise, but the phenomenon is here to stay”

Commenting on the findings, Sakshi Anand, VP of Growth at Trainline, said: “Hybrid working has helped fundamentally shift work and travel habits over the past few years, with more people now choosing a longer commute so they can both live and work where they want. Our research shows that not only are these rail supercommuters on the rise, but that the phenomenon is here to stay. As more people become supercommuters, they face an array of ticket options with a trade-off between price and flexibility. At Trainline, we can help supercommuters navigate these complex decisions by making it easy to identify and buy the right ticket that gives them the best value for their journey.”