End of the line for commuting

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The Independent Online

Mark Dixon, the man who pulled the £1bn float of his Regus temporary offices company last autumn, is planning to bring an end to commuting.

The 40-year-old entrepreneur is to open scores of small office complexes in the commuter belt where people can go to work without having to go all the way into the centre of the City.

The offices will be fitted out like any normal office with computers, fax machines and telephones and will be rented out for around the price of a first class ticket into the centre of the nearest city.

Mr Dixon argues that while people hate commuting, they also dislike working from home and like to go to an office for the social interaction and the absence of the distractions.

He expects that many workers will use his offices for a couple of days a week, and commute for the other three days. Eventually, he expects that many people will not travel to work at all.

"My son is three and when he starts work he will ask: 'Did you commute, daddy?'" said Mr Dixon. "It will be like riding a horse to work."

Regus is testing the project in the Netherlands, where Mr Dixon claims the commuting problems are even more acute than in the UK, and in Norway. The scheme is part of an aggressive expansion plan that Regus has continued, despite cancelling last year's float.

But Mr Dixon vows Regus will float on the stock market, when the time is right.