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24 September 2014

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You are in: Manchester > Travel > Journey from Hell?

tram car and train

Have a safe journey...?

Journey from Hell?

What’s your commute like? According to a new report, travelling to work in Manchester is seriously bad for your health - and worse than London. Send us your commuting stories and photos:

To assess the risks faced by commuters, the report’s author the RAC Foundation analysed travel times, collision rates and CO² levels across the country.


Way to go: motorbikes

They concluded that the worst travel region for overall commuter health was the North West of England. Although London had the longest journey times, the North West claimed top spot due to its high casualty rate and poor air quality.

Nationally, 71% of UK workers travel to work by car, 11% walk, 8% use the bus, 6% go by rail, 3% cycle and 1% ride a motorbike to work.

While congestion is seen as a major problem for car drivers, the report commends the motorcycle as a 'commuting workhorse' which can improve journey times.

According to the report, in the North West:

  • 77% use the car (76% in Greater Manchester)
  • an extra 1.5 people in every 10 are at risk of collision
  • average journey time is 24 mins
  • the second highest travel time region after South East
  • 8% travel over 2 hours a day (10% in Greater Manchester)
  • 2% are extreme commuters (in excess of 3 hours a day)

The RAC Foundation is calling for more support for home-working, recognition of motorcyclists, better public transport links, and affordable parking at work.

Your stories and photos

How long do you spend stuck in traffic jams? Do you stand for hours strap-hanging on the morning train to Piccadilly? Or on the tram from Bury? Is your commute the journey from hell? Tell us your stories.

Nick Williamson in Romiley, Stockport

I'm amazed that only 1% of commuters travel by motorbike. Last year, at the grand old age of 40, I got my first ever motorbike precisely because I couldn't face driving my car through the rush hour traffic anymore. For the past few years, I have been driving from Romiley to Altrincham every day, and it's a nightmare journey; it takes an hour on a good run, and if you throw in a rainshower and a crash on the motorway, it can take anything up to 2.5 hours to travel those 15 miles. Sometimes, it used to take me 40 minutes just to get through Romiley and so I decided that enough was enough; I either had to change jobs, move house or find another way of getting to work. I opted for a motorbike as I'd always wanted one, and it's been an absolute revelation; I'm able to filter past queues of cars - sometimes literally hundreds of them - and now that same journey takes me 35 minutes every day, no matter what. Furthermore, the bike has been a real passport to adventure; I'm happily zooming around the Peak District at weekends, and I've even taken it to Ireland where I met up with 150 other bikers from across Europe. I can't recommend motorbikes highly enough! Get yourself a well-maintained bike, good safety gear, good training and you'll be laughing!

Emily Hart in Manchester

I live in City Centre Manchester and work in Salford Quays. I have to commute by Tram from Victoria and change at Cornbrook. There needs to be more services for the Eccles line. A lot of people work in or aound the Salford Quays area and it is pure hell every morning and evening. Its not nice to be squashed up against people like sardines and not being able to move or even reach a handrail due to it being so packed. At 5' 1", I cant reach the high hand rails so as the tram moves I'm almost falling against others! Sometimes it is a battle to even get on a Tram and at times I have had to give up as well as others and wait for another tram. What annoys me the most is that there seems to be more Altrincham trams and when they pass through they are nearly always empty.  Why cant there be more Eccles service trams when it is obvious that there is such a high demand for them?

Sarah in Manchester

Another issue is cost.  Fortunately I live in the GMPTE pricing zone and pay £80.70 a month for unlimited use of trains, buses, and city centre trams.  I have recently returned to the North West and was looking to live in my home town, Macclesfield.  However, the monthly train fare between Macclesfield and Manchester is £170 - £170 for a 20 minute journey! I'm not surprised that people use their cars.

Louise in Fallowfield

I travel by bus into manchester city centre from fallowfield every morning for work and home again. Every term time is the same and my journey becomes a nightmare. Instead of my journey time being about 15 minutes in the morning and half an hour in the evening, it has turned into 40 minutes and nearly an hour and a half!. Buses stop and pile on the students until their is no breathing space avalible for anyone on board, buses fly past stops as they are too full from sitting at Owens Park Campus for 15 minutes trying to cram everyone on, the queues into Rusholme on an evening are ridiculous. Why do companies suddenly decide to do roadworks a few weeks before the students come back when they have all summer to do it. It makes me wonder what these people are getting paid to do.

Denise in Chester

I agree with everything Geoff Robbins says. The M56 chaos means my 35 mile trip to work in Manchester each day is now taking me 2 hours.  Complete madness to force 3 lanes of busy traffic into 2 lanes, leaving one lane empty.

Paul in Altrincham

Try cycling down Chester Road from Altrincham to Manchester every day, there's no room for cycles, cars don't want to give you any room and when its raining all the water lies on the gully and I do have a car and pay road tax but to help the enviroment I choose to ride my bike.

John in Didsbury

Lisa Brearleys story underlines why people use cars. I was a train commuter in London in the '70's and it was the same then. i motor from Didsbury to Blackburn most of the week and the journey takes between 50 and 100 minutes, depending on time of year ,weather conditions etc. To take the train/tram would be a nightmare and take far longer, plus I don't want to share that amount of my life with the general public if I have the choice. My car is my space away from the less desirable elements of society.

Geoff Robbins in Manchester

As you may know there has been ongoing overnight roadworks on the M56 at Junction 7 eastbound; luckily by morning the roadworks are completed.  Unfortunately, the changes they have made to the junction layout are causing chaos to commuters who are trying to get to work. The road planners have decided to restrict access to the inside lane of the eastbound carriageway prior to junction 7 to those vehicles wishing to take the exit at junction 7.  As a result of this, lane one in now empty in the morning, whilst the tailbacks, that used to be one mile at peak times is extending miles further and is impacting on the M6 South as they go beyond the M6 entry to the M56.  This is caused by three lanes of heavy traffic being shoehorned into two.  Whilst this works well going westbound, as evening traffic is more spread over time, eastbound traffic is constrained by the 9 am work deadline.  It seems that the planners, having seen that it works westbound, where traffic divides between the A556 and M56 and have automatically assumed that it will work eastbound too; it does not, as commuter traffic is converging to enter Manchester and little traffic exits at that junction. The enormous increase in congestion that this change has made is adding over 30 minutes to a journey time that used to take an hour.  Perhaps you would like to take a camera and have a look at this madness for yourself. I'm so angry about this that I'm going to set up a protest site to try and get this decision overturned.

Leo Wells in Bury

I get to work (13 miles from Bury to Manchester Oxford Road) faster on a bicycle, than in the car, or using public transport, so I do that most days. It takes me under 45 minutes to cycle to work. It can take between 45 minutes and an hour in the car depending of traffic and on public transport it's about an hour and 40 minutes, using a combination of walking, bus and train. I find the tram is simply too expensive for daily use.

Claire Murphy in Rawtenstall

Have you ever traveled down the M66 from Rawtenstall to Manchester before? Please let me warn you not to in rush hour.  That motorway gets so so so busy in the morning, that it is just grid lock even at 7.30am in the morning, like this morning and yesterday. What annoys me even more is that there is a perfectly in use railway line which runs from Rawtenstall to Bury (East Lancashire Railway) which is only in “use” as a tourist attraction!!! Please can someone tell me that despite all the hype on global warning and CO2 emissions, why the council cannot fund putting a train on from Rawtenstall to Bury to link up with the tram in Bury? The x43 bus is fantastic service which runs straight through to Manchester every 10 mins, but when the bus has to sit in the same traffic, please tell me what is the point?????

Robert in Manchester

Being a train conductor on the Irlam line, I know the problems well. One solution that Ruth Kelly has been made aware of is the possible extension of Merseyrail, through Warrington to Manchester Ox Rd via Irlam, which would provide large electric (3rd rail) trains on a regular high frequncy service. Express trains would be sent via Newton. Another quick-fix is the overhead electrification of Manchester Pic-Bolton-Preston, which would allow more high capacity trains through, extended from Crewe, the Airport or Macclesfield. The problem in Manchester is we have a very small-minded local authority (GMPTE) that wants Metrolink and has neglected local rail for years. Metrolink is not the big success they sell it as, the capacity is limited and costs are prohibitively high. Compare the Bury tram line to the old BR days, there's less people using it now. The solution to Manchester's congestion, is for GMPTE to grow up & start taking rail seriously.

Lisa Brealey in Irlam

Unfortunately, I couldn't get a picture this morning on the train - it was that full I couldn't get my phone out of my pocket to take a picture.  This was the 0736 Irlam to Manchester.This is getting to be a regular occurrence on this journey. If we are not standing up at Irlam, you are definitely standing by the time you get to Urmston. Last week, w/c 17 Sep – the train home at 1715 was late into Manchester.  Once we got on at 1720, we thought won't be long before we leave, we were still sat on it at 1810.  People were getting angry because there were no announcements made on the train.  There were plenty of staff on the platform.  You couldn't really get off the train, because there were that many people on it you just couldn't move.  It was a complete nightmare. Most nights coming home, you are standing room only at Deansgate for the 1715 out of Manchester Deansgate.  It has now come down to us trying to get to Deansgate in time to catch the train going into Oxford Road to make sure we have a seat for when it turns around to go back out towards Liverpool. It is amazing how there are health and safety regulations for transporting animals but there don't seem to be any for take people.

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last updated: 27/09/07

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