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September 02, 2011


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Our Chicago and LA offices, most staff have similar commutes. So why live in a big city? What is the draw? It is beyond me.

In our office the longest commute for someone is around an hour.

I would say an average would be between 1/2 hour to 45 minutes.

Mine is 15 minutes.

My wife and I both drive 40-45 minutes one way. Well, she catches the van pool but same distance. Given our professions, we are kinda stuck in the city we live in. If it was up to us we would move but that will have to wait for the future.

I'm pretty happy with my commute time. Less than 15 minutes on country roads. And on those days when I want to take an even more scenic route - it maybe gets up to 15 minutes (and I see more wildlife than other cars!).

I had a long commute for a college internship. It was about 40-45 minutes 3 times a week. I took the internship not only for the job itself, but the pay was by far the best offered. Other internships were simply pushing papers for $7/hr while this internship was $13/hr+.

I currently drive about 55 minutes. The drive is not ideal, but I love the job, and I am able to get my Master's Degree for free through my job. It's worth the sacrifice of the extra commute to me.

We have considered moving closer, but the cost of living is much higher where my work is located, and we would spend even more to live closer, than I send to commute.

My average commutes over my career have been around 30 minutes each wa. The longest was 80 minutes each way. My current commute is 15 to 20 minutes and it would be hard for me to consider an option that would be any longer at this point in my life.

12 minutes on back roads. My wife and I have purposely chosen every job/apartment/house for the past 10 years based on making our commutes as short as possible. It's worth it even if it means making less (which it has not been the case yet.)

(We live inside the city limits of a decently large city in the Midwest.)

I live in a city and my commute is approx 30min each way via public transit. For one project I was traveling up to an hour and 30 minutes each way (again public transit). HOWEVER, the money I have saved from not owning a car has made any commute 100% worth it.

I don't think I can even handle a long commute. My commute is around 15 minutes and the only things that slows me down are red lights, school zones and the occasional train.

40 minutes when there's no traffic. An hour and 20 minutes when there is traffic. Each way. Mass transit is not an option (can be done, but it would involve going 20 miles out of the way to come back and would involve a minimum of 2 hours).

My commute is 9 minutes on a good day, 14 on a bad day. My wife's commute is about 15 feet (from the bedroom to the office).

Before we moved to our dream home, my commute was about 12-15 minutes and hers was two flights of stairs. So we both cut our commutes with the move.

I couldn't imagine having a long commute anymore. It is just not worth it to me.

My commute in my hometown in NYC was 20 minutes. When my wife and I moved to Austin my commute has been 8 minutes and her commute is 20 minutes.

My longest was 45 minutes although it was through the country backroads. I'd get sleepy coming home sometimes. But now that I know better, I've got a very nice 7-8 minute commute and a job that pays me more than anything I've ever made before. I'm usually in the office by 8-8:15 and I leave around 5-5:30. I've actually been offered jobs where my commute would have increased to 30 minutes and I flat out told them know because of that. That and it was a lateral move salary-wise so there was no incentive.

My current commute is 10 min. But I'd put up with a longer commute in order to live in an larger, more interesting city.

The longest I ever had was for an internship when I was in college--1.5 hrs by bus ugh! I quickly moved closer to the job.

I'm familiar with the locale of the example in the post--the guy in Olympia could easily cut his commute time in half by moving much closer to his job. The traffic on the particular highway he has to drive on is a nightmare, and there are lots of closer inexpensive communities where he could live that also have better freeway access to Seattle. He probably wouldn't even need to pay much more for housing. Jobs have been scarce in Olympia for years but are much more abundant in Seattle. I'm guessing he couldn't consider moving so he's stuck.

My hubby and I live in Seattle. His commute is only 3 blocks walking (or less than 10 minutes). And my commute is 20-30 minutes- I walk 1 block, catch a free shuttle to the medical center, then walk 4 blocks to my office. We have one car, which we really only use to drive to the gym, evening classes, and shopping/entertainment.

I have had long commutes on public transport in Europe and it is not as bad as you may imagine. If you get on a train with enough seats, you can sit and read for 45 minutes or more. I read more and learned more in those few years than I ever did in the US, even with short commutes where I had to drive myself.

I noticed that Europeans almost invariably read while commuting and are often better-informed and better-read than Americans of similar wealth and educational background.

15 minute bike ride each way. The ride is primarily on a dedicated bike path along the Willamette River in Portland, OR. The organization I work for (Oregon Health & Sciences University) pays us to ride our bikes to work rather than drive. Can't beat it!

For the last couple of years I've had a 5-10 minute commute. My husband is the same. We actually purchased our house because of how close it was to work. Prior to that we had a 45 min to 1 hour drive each way.

We now are considering moving - space is an issue for our growing family - but the idea of having a long drive each morning and afternoon is killer, so we're waiting to see how his job hunting pans out before we settle on a new location to ensure we minimize the commutes.

20 minutes door to door is my current commute.

I think my limit would be about 30 minutes, which I've done on a few jobs already.

I work in NYC and commute from NJ. My commute is an hour and 45 minutes door to door. Most of it (1 hour or so) is on the train where I can read/listen to IPOD/sleep. I have a 10 minute drive to the train station and a 25 - 30 minute walk when I get off the train (I could cut off 10 - 15 minutes by taking the subway but prefer to walk). I leave the house at 6:30AM and return home around 6:30PM.

At my last company I had a shorter commute (~60 minutes on a good day) but had to drive the entire way. The way traffic is it was very tiring.

The shortest commute I have every had (at least in my professional career) was around 40 minutes.

It's easy to say "I would never" when one has never had to make the choice. When you come at the question from a "If I had to choose a job" then it's a very different situation than I have experienced.

I had about a 35 minute commute a few years ago, which in So Cal is VERY light. Then layoffs began happening over and over at our company. They decide to move our office to a different city to save money. Then my commute became 50 min. Then, more layoffs occured. Next, I was given a territory to cover people who were laid off down to San Diego. That meant 1-2 days a week I am commuting 2 hrs each way.

I'm one of the only friends still in my industry that is employed due to this economy. I would suggest that we take a second to realize that there might be more of a back story to this article. You are right, we all make choices. I'm aware of that as I climb into my vehicle each day. This person might be making the choice that he feels is best for his family based on his circumstance.

Matt --

That's a good point. If it was the only job I could keep/have, I would probably look at it differently. However, if I had a two-hour commute, I WOULD start looking for a new job and jump ship if I found a suitable replacement.

I'd also like to note that I'm sure most of the people with long commutes consider the impact on their families -- like my friend in the post. He had such a long commute because he wanted to provide a certain type/size/location of house for his family. I can understand that. But I wouldn't do it long-term myself unless that was literally the only/best choice I had.

Keep the big salary and title--I have the title, enough salary to meet my savings goals, and a 15 minutes commute on back roads. Life is good...

I live in an NYC Borough, and I commute about 30 minutes to the office each morning via subway.

It's the best of both worlds. I have the (relatively) low cost of living from not living in NYC itself, and a decent commute time. The extra $1K to $1.5K in increased housing expenses by living in NYC is not worth the marginally shorter commute I would get from living there.

When we lived in Kansas City, my wife had a 30-45 minute drive to work each day. I've never had more than a 15-minute commute. Currently, I'm a 5-minute drive from work, and my wife is the same.

As others have already mentioned, the time is only one factor. How you travel is the other. An hour driving in rush-hour traffic is a lot different than an hour sitting on a train or nice bus. If I ever had more than a 45-minute daily commute, I'd try to get hooked up with something like that. Or even a carpool system where I'd only have to drive occasionally. I have no trouble reading or napping when I'm a passenger. :)

My longest commutes have probably been 25 minutes. Not too bad. For the past few years, my commute has been from the back of the house to the front of the house. Pretty sweet :)

5 mins and I love it. Used to be 25-30 mins and then we moved which put me 2.5 miles from work.

When I read the linked article I see this person's door to door day is about 12.5 hours which doesn't seem too far from my own situation. Normal door to door for me is 11-12 hours but can be as high as 14 hours- and I have to say it totally sucks. Normally I am leaving just before 7 am (get up at 5:15, work out for about an hour then get ready for work) and come home anywhere from 6pm to 9pm... it's pretty tough.

The toughest part of my job is the terrible commute- work is about 55 miles from my home, this usually takes 1 hour in the morning and 1 - 2.5 hours to come back in the evening... this requires driving well in excess of 100 MPH for certain parts of the journey on the elevated limited access highway, basically there are many sections where the traffic is totally stuck.

I do have a company car and driver so I usually end up on the phone, or computer working on email or surfing the net (using my phone as a modem) to try and make the time go by more quickly.

When I first started I thought it would be a challenge to make it one year, now I've been doing it for 3 years. It seems that I have the longest commute but most of my colleagues are also driving in excess of 45 minutes each way, basically the work location is in the middle of nowhere in an industrial zone and it wouldn't be a nice place to live- so I am not alone.


The longest commute I had was 40 miles door to door, which ended up being anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half -- or longer if there were accidents causing problems. But I knew that was temporary, so at least there was an end in site. I once applied for a job that would have been 2.5 hours each way, but only once or twice a week -- the rest of the time I would have been working from home. I'm glad that didn't pan out.

Now, my commute is 5 minutes max driving. I can walk it in 20-30 minutes if need be but rarely do. I have no intentions of ever having a longer commute than that if I can possibly help it.

Working at home means a 10 second commute to my desk. :) When I had an office, it was about 10 minutes by car, or 15 minutes on my scooter (but more fun, and less gas!). When I first moved to this city to take this job, I made the mistake of living 20 miles away. Which required me to take a very congested route to work. If I could leave the house by 6:15am and leave work by 3:30pm, the commute was around 35 minutes each way. Otherwise, it was closer to an hour each way. It was horrendous, and I moved the second my lease was up!

I now consider the commute to be a very important part of a job's 'package'. I wouldn't take a job with a terrible commute unless I couldn't find something else. Not only is it time-consuming, it costs a lot in gas and auto maintenance, plus, for me, it is very stressful! Not worth it. And it can't be healthy to breathe in all those auto emissions day after day. Yuck.

yucky yuck yucky. Longest commute I have had was an hour and I hated every moment of it. Even with a good friend to carpool with. Spending 2 hours each day not at home. Was extremely annoying. I agree with the poster who says never say never. But I have a 15 min max commute now and the time saved and the less paid on gas make it soo worth the time. I figure I am saving at least $500 a month in gas and less wear and tear on my car. That in addition to the extra time home with family. Your right. It would take 10's of thousands for me to consider a commute of anything longer than 20-30 minutes.

A 6 hour round trip commute between Olympia and Seattle is insane. The article doesn't say much about WHY he is doing that other than he seems to like his current home. But I'm guessing he didn't voluntarily buy a house 3 hours away from his job and the house came first and his job in Seattle happened later. Still if it came to a 6 hour daily commute I would move homes without question. There are many nice places to live in Seattle, its a very nice city.

My commute is closer to 5 minutes. I intentionally bought a house closer to work when I started my job. I don't like wasting time commuting nor dealing with the daily stress of bad traffic.

I think it also depends a lot on the nature of the commute. 45 minutes across Seattle is a nightmare compared to 45 minutes across a deserted country highway.
I used to have a 45 minute commute each for a while when I was in college. It actually wasn't too bad though cause it wasn't a big city and the traffic was never bad. So it was just 45 minutes on the road without the congestion and stress of traffic jams. I could easily tolerate that again no problemo but I would hate to drive across Seattle during rush hour.

My longest commute was my first job out of college -- 20 minutes or so driving during Southern California traffic. Now, my commute is less than that and I take public transportation (we're a one-car family) -- about a 10-minute walk to the station, then the five-minute (if that) train ride to work. The station is located right next to my office building, so it's an easy door-to-door commute that lasts maybe 15 minutes. Of course, I choose to live near work and efficient public transportation.

I could just as easily walk to work (a 35-minute walk because of hills and the circuitous route) or take a 10-minute drive, but I vastly prefer taking public transportation since it gives me a little bit of exercise (but not so much that I end up sweaty, like I do if I walk the entire way) and is infinitely cheaper than driving.

20 miles each way takes about 25-30 minutes to drive. So total commute each day is about an hour. This is in So. Cal. I think a 30-minute commute max is the most I'd ever do.

Pandora on my iPhone, Hawaiian music (Ekolu songs) and morning radio shows help.

I've worked for the same company for over 27 years in Southern CA and will be eligible for a traditional pension at 30 years and will be able to increase it the longer I continue to work. Our company has many facilities throughout the nation and especially in SoCAL. We have a beautiful home near the beach and in a great neighborhood with lots of friends.

Some of the locations I work at are 15 - 30 minutes away, others much further and occassionally I will work out of state for awhile and fly home every other weekend or so. Recently I spent 2 years working at a facility that was over 80 miles from my home. In SoCAL that means a long drive with the best time in the morning 1.5 hours and the return in the evening around 2.5 hours but that can be much longer depending on accidents, weather, etc. Most of the time I was able to take alternate transportation that entailed driving 20 minutes to pick up a bus, riding the bus for 20 minutes to catch a plane, riding the plane for 20 minutes to catch another bus, riding the bus for another 10 minutes then walking from the drop off point to my work area. With other delays it was about 1.5 hours each way. I learned to use the commute time to listen to books on tape, read and sometimes catch short naps (books on tape for the car and reading / naps for the bus/plane).

I'm now back to about a 20 minute commute each way to work. For our family the decision to have me commute or live away from home for long periods of time has been worthwhile. I've stayed involved with my family, we don't waste much time with TV and I tried to use the commute times to some advantage. We could not afford to move each time and we wouldn't want to give up our current location for one in a much less desirable location. We take the long term view of this and believe this is the best solution for our family - similar to choosing to live below our means financially now so we can have better family wealth in the future.

5 miles each way, about 10-15 minutes depending on lights. My wife used to walk to work, but since we moved to our first houe in Feb, she has to drive 3 miles. These extreme commute stories are fascinating to me, I would just break down at some point.

Longest commute was 30 miles each way, but all freeway. Even in Southern California, we had a reverse commute (101 through Thousand Oaks and Camarillo), so hardly ever any traffic.

My wife is a freelance software contractor, so her commute is 3 steps from the bed to the desk. My commute is about 10 steps, all the way to the nursery.

At her previous job, she started out with a 45 minute commute each way. Within a month, we decided that was for the birds, and moved to the other end of town to shorten the commute to 7 minutes ("moving is such a pain!" she said. "Is it worth saving an hour and a half every day for the next five years?" I said. Thus, we moved.) I got a job across the street from her right as we were moving, which meant we often shared our 7 minute commute. The longest commute I ever had was 20 minutes to get to school.

"More than 3.2 million workers in the U.S., or about 2.4% of the nation's workforce, travel more than 90 minutes to work each way, according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (According to the Bureau, any commute over one hour is considered extreme.)"

There are some stupid people in this world. There is hardly a good reason for anyone to do this to themselves. Suck it up, move closer to work, or change jobs. Simple.

The longest commute, I had was 15 min. (8 miles) in San Diego CA, to avoid pricey rental Apt., I choose to stay little far from Office...In Ann Arbor MI, my Apt. was just behind Office, so could come back to home to have,

Luckily my last job allows telecommute, so everyday I work from Home (there are some disadvantage too...) but at least I can avoid all hassles of commute,

Ideally, I prefer 15-30 min. max on road each way,

Wow bwell. Must be nice to have everything work out perfect for you all the time.

I am one of those stupid people you're talking about.

My commute averages 90 minutes. Each way.

Public transit makes it bearable. If I was driving or in traffic it would be a different story.

In short, I like my house, (underwater mortgage) and make anywhere from 20-40% more by going in town to work and living location is a compromise to some extent.

Basically, yes. No one really likes long commutes. But many people don't even have jobs. A long commute is better than unemployment for me. Just look at today's job numbers. Zero growth. Not exactly a job seeker's market.

For years I had a 30-45 minute commute; the best case was about 20 min. But for the past 11 years it's been 0. I've now managed to work for 2 companies where working from a home office was the norm. Of course, when I do have to commute to the office, it's about 6K miles each way. :-) My mechanics laugh at me because my 1999 auto has such low mileage and looks nearly new.

My commute is 20 min. I feel pretty blessed as it's traffic free too. Let's not judge those with 1.5 hr + commutes plese. There are a lot of folks in urban areas or with less options that must do this.

One suggestion for those with the long commutes is to use the time wisely. Be sure to plan things to do. My last job had nearly an hr commute. I bought language tapes and was able to learn several languages while driving to and from work. It was great!

I always had short commutes until 1986. Then I took a job (after 1 year of looking) that was 90 miles from home. I could not face the constant driving each day, so I got a room in a private home and went home to see my husband a couple of times a week. I was lucky in my rent. I lived in this room for 15 years and my rent stayed pretty much at $100 a month.

Also, besides this job, I did a lot of p/t work for home health agencies because I needed the money to pay off debts and so I wouldn't be lonely so far from my home. I guess the longest commute was in 1993, when the MO River flooded and the river bridge was closed. So, I had to do a 140 mile r/t each day. By then my job was 20 miles closer to home, but I still kept the room I had and just did a 40 mile r/t each day normally. It was on a main highway and not congested. I was blessed.

In 2004 I had to get another room. This one was triple the size and I had a kitchen to use. Again I was blessed. It was a private home and my rent only went up to $125. How lucky can one girl get? But it all helped to get us out of debt.

I have a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute bike ride and my husband has a 15 minute walk or a 3 minute bike ride to work. We don't own a car and we live in Philadelphia. I have never owned a car (and never want to own one)!

When we moved to Silicon Valley in 1960 I drew a 7 mile radius around where I worked and we only considered living within that circle. We rented a duplex for two years, then bought a brand new home about a mile away and lived in it for 14 years before moving less than a mile away to a much nicer home that we still live in, which kept my commute down to less than 15 minutes and allowed our three kids to stay in the same school district and walk or cycle to school.

I know many people that when their very small, older home appreciated greatly during the real estate bubble couldn't resist the temptation to sell it, move 50 miles or more to a rural town in the farm belt and buy a beautiful new monster home for the same price. They then had a 1 to 2 hr. daily commute through heavy commuter traffic in both directions. Sadly when the bottom started to fall out of the real estate market around 2005-2006 those big, beautiful monster homes out in the sticks had their values drop like a rock by much higher percentages than the small, old homes they left behind. Now they are still stuck with the commute as wages have stagnated and gas prices soared. Our paper has carried many stories of the problems some of these families faced as some lost their jobs and others were foreclosed upon. In some cases in addition to the the move to the monster home, they used up all their equity by also buying pools, spas, boats, more furniture etc. Another factor is that the highest ranked schools are in the best suburban areas not in small rural towns. It's sometimes smart to resist making a large move impulsively just because the grass may look greener elsewhere.

I work a block away from my job. I can't tell you how wonderful it is not needing to drive to work every day. Even the difference between walking a block and having a 10 minute commute is very noticeable. The less you drive, the more you realize how uncivilized driving everywhere really is.

One of the reasons I always longed to work from home is to avoid the commute. It is such a waste of time. Now I do work from home... but need to bring my daughter to school... and that is here in Bangkok worse than a commute. Often 60 minutes by car one-way there and 35 minutes back. The only thing that makes it doable is to listen to a great podcast when I am alone in the car.

@ Van Beek: do you drive yourself each day?

I agree with Easychange. I live in New Jersey and commute at least 1 hr. from door to door into Manhattan. I earn at least 10%-20% more by commuting into Manhattan and always use my commute time to my advantage. I get a lot of reading done, personal work, etc. I use that time as my "Me" time especially being a single parent with three (3) children for the last 13 years. I love it! I had about a 20 min. commute when I took a job closer to home a few years ago. I had no down time. Having said that, I would not want 1 1/2 hours of commute time because that's just too much and can be very stressful on a bad day. I will note that driving and catching a train are two very different things as far as the commute goes. I will not want to drive for me than 30 minutes if an opportunity presented itself. Riding the train is relaxing, and don't forget, you can sleep. You can't do that when driving.

My brother lives in a suburb of Chicago. He did somewhat like Old Limey did. He told the company he wanted to be within 15-20 minutes of work. He was able to find a lovely house within that radius and is there to this day.

After 2-3 downturns at his company in the late 90's, he was let go. He got another job quickly in downtown Chicago. Luckily the subway & el do wonders for commutes. To his great delight, the company came to him in about 2 years and asked him to come back. He had kept his home and was certainly glad he did. He will retire from this company in about 3-4 years.

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