Jyrki Kasvi (Greens), a third-term Member of the Parliament, estimates in his blog on Puheenvuoro that long commutes are a problem.
He argues that commutes are not solely an economic issue although the tax-deductibility of work-related travel expenses encourages people to commute long distances to work.
“The commute also takes time, and the cost of that time can be much higher than the actual cost of the commute. For example, a three-hour commute takes 15 hours a week, 60 hours a month and – taking holidays and sick leaves into consideration – roughly 25 days a year,” he writes.
Studies, he adds, also indicate that long commutes predispose people to a variety of health and social problems, such as high cholesterol levels, loneliness, overweight and back problems.
“Perhaps we should support short commutes instead of long ones to encourage people to move closer to work rather than commute long distances,” he proposes.
It is also important to remove obstacles to moving for employment-related reasons, according to Kasvi. “The two or four per cent transfer tax that is levied on the sale price of a house is effectively a moving tax that slows down the real estate market. It has been estimated that lowering the transfer tax by one percentage point would increase real estate transactions by 15–20 per cent,” he points out.
Juhani Kahelin, a licentiate of social sciences, offers his thoughts on long commutes in his blog after commuting from Järvenpää to Helsinki for 30 years. “If possible, I won't set foot on another commuter train in the Helsinki region. I've moved within a five-minute walk of my so-called workplace, by the Senate Square,” he writes.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Leif Rosnell / VR Group
Source: Uusi Suomi