Growing objections to time spent cummuting

The last decade has seen a huge increase world-wide in demand for homes that cut down the time spent on commuting – and no doubt this will continue, says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank.

Even in “uncongested” Cape Town, she said, there is now a reluctance to waste time on commuting.

“Just how serious the situation has become in the First World countries,” said Steward, “is evident from the fact that in New York, Tokyo or London it can take four to five hours in peak traffic times to cross the city – but in case people think that South Africa is far less affected, it should be realised that in Johannesburg many people are now spending four hours a day in traffic while others are refusing to take jobs within 15 kilometres of the CBD and some have objected strongly to driving past any area where muggings have become prevalent.”

These objections, said Steward, are not unreasonable: if you spend four hours a day commuting you are, in effect, sacrificing 130 days (or 18 eight hour working weeks) a year to travel. If you spend only two hours a day in your car you are still giving up 65 days a year. Everyone, says Steward, has better things to do with their time than that.

One solution, she added, is to promote work-at-home alternatives but, while these can be useful, it has been shown that people doing this miss the comradeship and the stimulus of a communal work place.

Nor, she said, is CBD living always the dream it is hyped up to be by inner-city developers.

“Obviously it is a huge advantage to be able to walk to work in ten or 15 minutes but as Osbert Lancaster said in his ‘History of Architecture’, tensions and neuroses proliferate among occupants of homes high above the ground and without any daily contact with flowers, grass, trees and the like. It seems we all need a green quite place to which we are able to retreat occasionally.”

Article by: