Business leaders in the West Midlands have called on the Government to ease the pressure on the region caused by high travel costs facing business.
The demand from Birmingham Chamber of Commerce follows an above-inflation hike in rail fares which came into force immediately after the festive holiday.
Travellers returning to work this week after the festive holiday were also clobbered with rises in the cost of renewing rail season tickets and a 10p hike in the cost of bus journeys.
John Lamb, of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said companies were deeply concerned about the rising cost of travel to work for employees and also the effect fare increases have on business travel.
He said: “How people get to work is their own responsibility and cost, but this is reflected in increased wage demands.
“The cost of business travel is also considerable and many firms have now reduced this to a minimum. New technology such as video conferencing and emails have also helped reduce the need for travel but it is sometimes essential."
Mr Lamb claimed that many executives had forsaken first class travel to take advantage of more economic fares.
He said the pressure on overcrowded routes, such as links between Birmingham and London, highlighted the need for the planned £35 billion High Speed 2 rail project.
“There is a desperate need to improve connectivity and HS2 will help,” he said.
The Birmingham Chamber spokesman said more businesses were allowing staff to work more flexible hours and operate from home in an attempt to cut travel costs.
“Companies have to be flexible nowadays about staff working. But it underlines the fact that the government needs to help firms operate more cheaply and this includes travel options and cutting red tape.
“Just to employ a single person nowadays requires an enormous amount of paperwork."
Meanwhile, commuters needing to travel more than 50 minutes into Birmingham must spend a staggering 21 per cent of their salary on season tickets.
Research by management consultancy industrial consultant Hay Group revealed that commuting costs are eating into salaries of employees who travel the longest distances to work.
Commuters heading into Birmingham from outlying areas such as Northampton, Hereford and Telford or further afield from Watford Junction fall into the trap.
The management group’s PayNet UK Salary Tracker analysed pay and salary movements across five different employee levels ranging from manual to highly-qualified professionals, basing travel costs on short trips lasting less than half an hour, medium (31-49 minutes) and long journeys, lasting over 50 minutes.
It revealed that the standard cost of a year-long rail season ticket in Birmingham is £2,046 – 14 per cent of a salary worth almost £15,000.