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Young Danes have long commutes to the nearest vocational college

Eight per cent of vocational college students spend more than 1.5 hours on their journey to and from school using public transport. In the town of Assens on Funen, they have lowered travel time by 20 minutes by rerouting buses.

Publiceret: 07.12.2017
Af Peter G. H. Madsen mail

Every school day all year round, tens of thousands of students take buses and trains to get to and from vocational colleges. For the majority, it is matter of a shorter trip from home to college during the first part of their education programme, but there are also young people for whom the journey can be long and difficult. These are the results found in a mapping of commutes to and from vocational colleges for students age 15-28, carried out by the Confederation of Danish Industry on the basis of calculations from the consulting firm MOE Tetraplan.

Altogether, 79 per cent of students have access to a vocational college with basic courses within 30 minutes of travel time with public transport. If the time limit is extended to 45 minutes, 92 per cent are able to make it to a vocational college. However, that still leaves out 8 per cent, who must spend more than 45 minutes each way or over 1.5 hours per day if they choose to take the bus or train to a vocational college, shows DI’s analysis.

“No one likes a long commute. It can therefore be a major inconvenience for young people if they have to spend a long time getting to and from a vocational college. Fortunately, we are seeing that there are municipalities such as Assens that are doing something about it and trying to reduce commute times with public transport,” says director of the Danish Transport Federation, Michael Svane.

He believes it is important that the newly elected municipal and regional councils ask themselves whether even more can be done to reduce travel time with public transport, particularly for young people going to school.

“Many business sectors are lacking skilled labour and throughout the past years, much has been done to improve the quality of vocational education and training and attract more young people and adult students to the vocational colleges. Naturally, it would therefore be a shame if long commutes to and from school discourage young people from choosing a vocational education.

See also: Denmark wastes 20 billion kroner on traffic delays

A long way to school in North Jutland

The Danish Transport Federation has also looked at public transport to and from vocational colleges at a regional level and has found that it is particularly in the North Jutland Region that students are challenged by long commutes to school.

In North Jutland, 16 per cent of students spend more than 45 minutes on buses and/or trains to get to a vocational college - and just as long getting home again. 5 per cent of students spend more than 1 hour each way.

In the Capital Region, the picture looks markedly different and better for students. 99 per cent of students in the region spend less than 45 minutes getting to a vocational college. And 92 per cent can manage the journey in under half an hour.

“Fortunately, we are seeing that there are municipalities such as Assens that are doing something about it and trying to reduce commute times with public transport.” Michael Svane, Director

Take the car - when the bus takes too long

If the journey to school with buses or trains is too long, young people under 18 are dependent on others who can drive them. If, on the other hand, they are over 18, a driving licence and own car are often at the top of students’ wish lists.

It is, however, not everyone who wants to own a car or who has the budget required to get one.

According to data extractions from the Danish National Travel Survey 2010-2016, only 22% of young people drive by car each day to upper secondary educations. For vocational colleges, however, the figure is expected to be higher, given that the average student age at vocational colleges is significantly higher than at upper secondary schools.

The problems with long commutes to and from vocational colleges has made a number of municipalities and transport companies look at what can be done to make students’ journey with public transport shorter and more convenient.

In 2013, the municipality of Assens launched a trial with direct bus connections between the areas in Assens with most students and the vocational colleges in Odense. By rerouting bus routes, it was possible to reduce travel times by approx. 20 minutes.

Fortunately, we are seeing that there are municipalities such as Assens that are doing something about it and trying to reduce commute times with public transport.

DIRECTOR MICHAEL SVANE, DI
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PUBLISHED: 12/7/2017 LAST MODIFIED: 12/7/2017