Over two hours on the move: Belgian workers face some of EU's longest commutes

Over two hours on the move: Belgian workers face some of EU's longest commutes
Credit: Belga.

One in five commuters face a total travel time of more than two hours to get to work in Belgium, putting them among the "top commuters" in Europe, according to research by SD Worx.

Although many people work in the same province they live in, the study found that employees in Belgium are in the European leading group with the greatest commuting distance, with one-fifth of workers facing a two-hour commute every day, and half spending more than 45 minutes every day travelling to and from work.

Meanwhile, in Italy, Germany, France and the UK, almost a quarter of the employees lose more than two hours a day. In all ten countries where employees were surveyed, commuting individually by car was a frequent mode of transport.

In Flanders, however, the bicycle is gaining popularity for commuting – one in five indicated the bicycle is their first choice to get to work – mainly as a result of the increasing popularity of leasing bicycles via the employer, which can be done completely tax-free.

Brussels metro. Credit: Belga

Brussels is the only region in Belgium where the use of a private car is not most common among commuters; instead, the metro, tram or bus is the first choice. In Wallonia, more than half of commuters rely on their own car, but walking to work comes in second.

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The distance between a person's home and work itself does not tell all about commutes, as traffic density also plays a role. "In order to spread commuter traffic, various forms of flexibility such as flexitime or working from home remain important," Claire Possemiers, Legal Consultant at SD Worx, said.

This in itself reduces traffic jams but it also ensures that employees can avoid them. One in three Belgians (34%) limited their home-work trips to less than three days a week, leaving more room for people who are expected at work every day, such as those in the retail, care or production sectors.

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