I hope we are not surprised to find out that New York City has the longest average weekly commute amongst major cities across the United States. Even Los Angeles -famed for gridlock on major expressways – is much farther down on the list. As you can see from the table here, the average New York worker spends 6 hours and 18 minutes on some form of transit to and from work. This adds a significant burden to those who work in this city. It might be surmised that with longer commute times come fewer work hours but there seems to be a positive correlation between the two – the more you work, the longer your commute.
A student just left the school I work at, citing economic hardship as one of the reasons. Apparently, it was not possible for him and his family to make enough money to live in the way they want to in New York City. I wonder if commute time had anything to do with it.
I count myself lucky: I bike to work and it takes me 12 minutes one-way. When it rains, I take the subway and it’s about 25 minutes. I can’t imagine what it is like to have some of the commute times of my friends: sometimes an hour or more each way. One could make the argument that they like reading during that time, but it is never as comfortable as one would like.
I wonder if it’s possible to have more sensible commute times in a city that never sleeps…