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The car is the most popular means of commuting to work

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Nearly one in two working Poles commutes to work from another location. A vast majority spend no more than one hour commuting one way, according to PMR.

Market research study concerned respondents that were employed in the preceding week before the day of the survey, regardless of its form, including workers without a permanent contract. A vast majority of people having employment (68%) declared that they had a contract of employment (35% of the entire surveyed sample), while 15% worked part-time (including short-term contracts, commissions, and internships).

A considerable percentage of respondents are self-employed or farmers (16%). However, it is worth remembering that all people having any employment status within 30 days of the date of the survey comprised just 52% of the entire representative sample of adult Poles.

One in two Poles work outside their place of residence

The study revealed that 48% of employed Poles work outside the place where they live. In the countryside just one in four respondents (24%) work in the same village as they live, half of which (49%) are self-employed or farmers. In smaller towns (population up to 49,000), one in two people on average (approximately 50%) work outside their place of residence. In large cities (population of over 50,000) the majority work in the same location (on average approximately 75%).

Bicycle to work? Still not the norm

For our respondents, the criteria for choosing the means of getting to work include the size of the place of residence and whether they live and work in the same place. The most popular means of commuting is by car (as declared by 58% of respondents). The car is more frequently used by people who commute to another town, i.e. those who need to cover a greater distance each day – a regularity observed for every location size.

Out of all the respondents, 21% choose city transport. It is the most common in cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants, and among people who live and work in the same place (42% choose this means of getting to work). The larger the city, the greater the share of respondents who commute to work this way. In general, public transport (city and suburban transport, buses and trains) is the choice of 27% respondents.

The share of commuters who prefer ecological means of commuting is also large – 14% of respondents go to work on foot, which is a large percentage seeing that only people who live close to work have this option.

Bicycle is even less popular (6%) – it is the most common in the group of people who live and work in the same place, in the countryside (24%). Commuting to work looks slightly different if we compare people who work in their place of residence and outside of it. Some differences are natural – the consequence of the distance that has to be covered every day. In both groups, respondents declared that they usually commuted by car (74% and 45%, respectively). City transport is popular with people who live and work in the same place (28%); interestingly, walking is almost equally popular (23%). The bicycle was indicated by 8% of people who work in the same place, and by only 3% of respondents who work outside of home. The findings concerning means of transport have not changed greatly compared to, when the GUS (Central Statistical Office in Poland) asked a similar question in the BAEL (Polish Labour Force Survey).

We get to work in 20 minutes

Most employed Poles reach work in less than 20 minutes (56% of people). Nearly 25% of Poles commute between 21-40 minutes; 11% – from 40-60 minutes; 90% of working respondents lose no more than an hour one way during the commute to work. If a vast majority arrive at work in less than 40 minutes, the picture of the commute is very optimistic. According to the research of Eurofund, the commuting time of a statistical Pole is 42.2 minutes a day, which places Poland around the European average (41.6 minutes).

One in ten Poles lives over 50 km away from work

Nearly half of the employed respondents declare that they live in a different place from their place of work (48%). The share is different in the findings of BAEL (the Labour Force Survey conducted by GUS, the Central Statistical Office of Poland); however, the discrepancy is due to different definitions. BAEL estimates the share of people who work outside the municipality in which they are registered permanently, while the PMR survey asked about the actual place of residence, which very often differs from the official register.

People who live outside their place of residence were asked how far their workplace was from the place they live in. A vast majority (90%) indicated distances of up to 50 km from place of residence. People who live the closest, i.e. up to 5km, comprise 14%, while the category of 6-10 km accounts for one-quarter of the respondents (22%).

PMR’s research shows that the employed usually choose the car as the means of commuting to work. Poles seem not to be bothered neither by fuel prices nor the risk of traffic jams. Public transport is another option, however, with a result showing 27% we are still far behind one of the record cities, Barcelona, where 46% of the employed use this means of getting to work (according to Urban Audit). Slightly fewer commuters arrive to work on foot, and still not many choose a bike. Such statistics place us at the tail end of European cities – in the Dutch city of Groningen bicycle is used by up to 37% commuters. On the other hand, Poles are far from the other extreme, such as the German city Saarbrücken, where 78% of respondents go to work by car.

The nationwide consumer survey was conducted by PMR in April on a representative sample of 600 adult Poles, with a maximum estimation error of 4%.
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