A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

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APPENDIX 3. WORKERS TRAVELLING EXPENSES

Interviewing took place in September and October, 1943

The population sampled was the bulk of wage-earners working in urban areas in Great Britain. Agricultural workers were excluded, also professional and managerial workers and some small miscellaneous groups. The population, therefore, includes the vast majority of those who travel to work daily at regular times. Altogether 2,944 workers were interviewed.

Fares to and from work were asked, and the fares given below represent the amounts paid for two journeys, either for two single tickets or for one return ticket.

When workers bought weekly or monthly season tickets the sum paid was divided by the appropriate number of working days to obtain a daily figure. The proportions buying different sorts of tickets are given at the end of this report.

When workers returned home for their midday meal the fares paid at midday were not included. These results, therefore, show the fares that it is necessary for workers to pay. Whether or not a worker goes home at midday is generally a matter of his own choice.

38% of workers did not use public transport, 16% cycling, 21% walking and 1% using other methods of transport (motor-cycle, lifts, etc.).

“Public transport”, as used here, includes special works buses, where fares are paid. (The number travelling free by works bus is negligible).

The mean of the fares paid by those who use public transport is in the neighbourhood of 7.1d ± .2d. If those who walk and cycle etc. are included in the total, the mean fare for all workers in this population is around 4.3d. ± .2d. Thus on an average, roughly from 1/11d. to 2/2d. per week per person is spent on fares to and from work.

The population sampled includes about fifteen and a half million workers, and it may be calculated that the majority of wage-earners working in urban areas pay altogether something like £1,400,000 to £1,700,000, or rather more or less, per week in fares to and from work, excluding dinner hour journeys, at this time of year. (There is some evidence from other inquiries that a higher proportion of workers walk and cycle to work in the summer).

As the distribution is asymmetrical the mean is somewhat misleading if regarded as a measure of central tendency. If the median fare is calculated (walkers and cyclists excluded) this is found to be 6d. It will be seen from the above table that half those using public transport paid less than 6d. per day.

In considering the amounts paid in fares by different groups of workers, the median fare is given only where this differs significantly from the median fare for all using public transport.

In the case of some groups the numbers included are too small for the differences shown to be considered statistically significant.

% those using public transport | ||||||

Pence | Heavy Mnfctr. | Light* Manftr. (1) | Light* Manftr. (2) | Distributive | Clerical | Total |

2 - 3 ½ | 27 | 27 | 40 | 22 | 16 | 27 |

4 - 5 ½ | 22 | 19 | 24 | 25 | 25 | 23 |

6 - 7 ½ | 16 | 17 | 14 | 20 | 16 | 16 |

8 - 9 ½ | 7 | 13 | 6 | 8 | 11 | 9 |

10 - 11 ½ | 9 | 6 | 7 | 4 | 8 | 6 |

12 - 18 ½ | 16 | 12 | 5 | 14 | 13 | 11 |

19 - 24 ½ | 1 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 2 |

25 and over | - | - | 1 | 1 | 5 | 1 |

No information | 1 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 3 | 4 |

Sample: (Those using public transport) | 224 | 730 | 277 | 304 | 1816 | |

Number walking, cycling, etc. | 87 | 415 | 199 | 143 | 1128 |

Sample figures for these two groups are bracketed together because the proportions of war workers included are based on confidential figures.

Figures for miners and building and transport workers are not given because the numbers using public transport in these groups are too small to give statistically reliable results.

Two thirds of clerical workers paid 6d. or more and one fifth paid a shilling or more. Of those in light non-war manufacture as many as 64% paid less than 6d. The median fare for this group is 4½d.

Analyses of the fares paid by men and women and by age groups show no statistically significant differences between the different groups.

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Fares per day (2 journeys) by Region

Four regions differ from the total result markedly in respect of the amounts paid in fares by those using public transport.

The North East and South West show relatively high proportions paying less than 6d. The median fare in each of these regions is around 4½d.

In London, higher fares, and particularly fares of a shilling and more, are more frequently paid, the median fare being as high as 8d. (In considering the high proportion paying from 1/- to 1/6½d., the increase in the class interval should be noted).

In South Wales the proportion paying less than 4d. is relatively low, 60% paying from 6d. to 8d.

Other regions show no statistically significant differences. It should be noted that the numbers in the samples in different regions using public transport are small, and, therefore, small differences cannot be regarded as significant, only the more marked differences showing up.

The proportions walking, cycling, etc. vary considerably from one region to another, being highest in East Anglia and the South and lowest in London, the North East and Wales.

Regional figures are likely to be affected by the distribution of industry in towns of different sizes within the regions. In setting regional samples this factor was considered and representative proportions of workers chosen from large, small and medium sized towns.

In the larger towns workers more frequently have to travel longer distances to work and, therefore, have to pay higher fares. This tendency is offset to some extent in very small towns as a higher proportion of workers live in the rural areas around such towns or in neighboring towns.

A breakdown of the fares paid by workers in towns of different sizes is given below:

In towns with populations of 50,000 to just below 300,000, slightly higher proportions pay less than 6d. In smaller towns the proportions paying less than 6d. is somewhat lower.

In towns of the largest size only 40% pay less than 6d. and 19% pay a shilling or more.

The number in the sample using public transport in towns of less than 25,000 population is small. Results suggest that a relatively high proportion pay more than a shilling, a low proportion paying less than 6d. The possible reasons for this are given above. However, the results are subject to a wide margin of error.

The proportion of those using public transport who bought different sorts of tickets are as follows:

Tickets | % those using public transport |

Single | 45 |

Return | 41 |

Weekly season | 14 |

Monthly season | 2 |

Quarterly season | 2 |

No information | 4 |

Sample: | 1816 |

Workers were asked whether they travelled by workman’s ticket