Society and Culture

Are You Schlepping to Work in This City With the Longest Commute?

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Lucky enough to have a job? Unlucky enough to have a long or expensive commute? You’re not alone, according to a new Citi study.

The average American spends $10 per day in commuting fees, clocking about 45 minutes a day in commuting time. Want to take a stab at which city boasts the highest daily roundtrip costs? Surprisingly, it’s Los Angeles—commuters shell out an average of $16 per day. New York comes in second place at $14, with Chicago and San Francisco tying for third place at $11 a day.

While people in L.A. spend the most amount of green commuting, New Yorkers spend the most amount of time getting to and from work. How long, exactly? An average of 73 minutes per day. (I myself am a tri-state area commuter who spends about double that amount of time commuting per day, and I feel the need to stress the term “average.” For every person whose commute is a breezy 20 minutes, you can find at least one poor soul who logs three to four hours of commuting time per day.

So why do people subject themselves to these crazy commutes? For some people, money is a driving factor (no pun intended). If they can take home larger salaries, they can justify spending more time and money getting to work.

Other people might actually not mind commuting. (These people have obviously never been in Port Authority during rush hour or experienced genuine hell traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel).

About 72 percent of the women involved in the study said that commuting was the only “me” time they had during the day. Husbands are not within earshot of their wives, and mothers are away from their kids. There is time to read, catch up on favorite podcasts, or swipe on some Maybelline while en route to work. Although, as a friendly PSA to my fellow ladies and other humans who put on makeup while on the train, keep it simple, quick, and scent-free…you’re in a public space, after all.

For some people, however, commuting negatively affects their everyday attitudes pretty significantly. They report feelings of anxiety and genuine dissatisfaction with their lives.

People who use public transportation reported higher levels of anxiety compared to people who commuted privately (i.e. drove their own cars).

The most recent study showed that 49 percent of those polled who do not ride their bikes to work would do so if their town/city offered a bike-share program, especially in Los Angeles and Chicago. New York City has had its Citi-sponsored bike-sharing initiative running since 2013, with plans to launch 1,000 newer & slimmer Olympic-style bikes this month.

Commuting might stink both literally and metaphorically at times, but what’s the alternative? Not everyone can work from home. Only the strong can commute. We schlep, we drive, we work, we ride NJ Transit. Then we wake up and do it all over again.

Corinne Fitamant
Corinne Fitamant is a graduate of Fordham College at Lincoln Center where she received a Bachelors degree in Communications and a minor in Theatre Arts. When she isn’t pondering issues of social justice and/or celebrity culture, she can be found playing the guitar and eating chocolate. Contact Corinne at



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