For those of you who have a 9-5 job in Los Angeles, New York or any other large metropolitan area, you have experienced the grueling commute to and from work during rush hours. No matter what route you chose to take, how early you leave or how many sacrifices you make, the commute is never enjoyable–not to mention the time and costs it takes to travel alone in a vehicle. Commuters spend approximately $2,600 and 200 hours a year commuting to work. That is about $10 and 45 minutes a day spent traveling to and from work. In a recent survey from CitiBank’s ThankYou Premier Commuter Index of 3,500 consumers across the United States, 66 percent of Americans have noticed an increase in their commuting costs. That increase is a culmination of increasing gas prices and the fact that 77 percent of commuters prefer to commute by driving their own car versus public transportation. 79 percent reported spending most of their commuting money on gas, followed by 14 percent whose commuting costs go towards public transportation.

The truth of the matter is that not everyone can find housing within walking or biking distance of their work, and not many people really want to either. Living in busy, crowded cities like LA consist of overly priced real estate for decrepit houses. As a commuter to Los Angeles myself, I have to leave my house an hour and a half early to work in order to make it on time to find parking (which I usually have to pay for).

Los Angeles holds the priciest average commute of $16. The daily round trip is $14 for New York, and the lowest average price is $11 for San Francisco and Chicago. However, New York is #1 in the longest average commute, which is about 73 minutes with Chicago following closely at 64 minutes, compared to SF’s 56 minutes, LA’s 55 minutes.

One thing that all these statistics reaffirm is that time is money. No matter what major city you’re in, you will face traffic and pay for it. What I’ve personally learned is that I need to prioritize my time accordingly. Driving five to ten minutes to work is a thing of the past and in order for me to keep myself on track, a daily commute schedule is essential to organizing my life. If you are truly sick of driving the distance everyday, public transportation is a helpful option. Heck, it even helps the environment. Filled buses, trains and subways equal less cars on the freeway, which essentially curbs traffic. It’s a win-win situation. However, public transportation is time and money as well. Patience and affability is key to a tolerable bus or train ride. Starting next week, I am going to take the train and bus to work. For someone who has never ridden in public transportation by myself, this is a great learning experience and who knows, I might even make a few friends. Just remember, you are what you make of your commute.


  • Erum Jaffrey

    Erum is a junior international relations major at the University of Southern California. As a representative for the Muslim South Asian diaspora, she hopes to bring a voice for underrepresented minority women in the news media.