Your commute: The naked truth

So how long does it really take you to get to and from work? Do you sometimes exaggerate and milk it for all its worth, maybe trying to get sympathy? Or do you shorten the time because you are embarrassed by how far out in the sticks you are?

What’s the naked truth about your journey to and from the place where you earn your livelihood? What have you seen and done along the way? Do tell.

The last holdouts — the marathon vacationers, we call the U.S. Congress — are still out of town, but now may be as good a time as any to examine how we do it. How long it takes us to get to and from work each day. In many places, today will be our worst commute in a long time. The last D.C. area school system (in the Virginia suburbs) opens today.

Have fun out there, wherever you are.


Time is money and with the situation in the Middle East, gasoline prices aren’t likely to drop anytime soon.

In the U.S., the average time to and from work is 25.4 minutes each way. Almost an hour a day. That information is from the Census Bureau.

But averages are always tricky. The actual time to and from work, obviously, varies depending on how far from your office you live. And traffic.

New Yorkers have the longest commute averaging almost 35 minutes each way. The D.C. area is next averaging a little less. Commuting is also tough in San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago and some smaller cities that might surprise you. Click here for the full list from U.S. News and World Report.

My personal champion long-distance commuter, Suzanne Kubota, had a daily 200-mile round-trip commute. Suzanne, who was my editor and friend (make that friend, then editor) lived in Pennsylvania but worked in Northwest D.C. (Cleveland Park if you know the city). She died two years ago this summer. While she never complained, many of us worried that the stress of the commute was too much.

I currently know several long-distance commuters, including one guy (with his car pool) who comes into downtown D.C. from near Boonsboro, Md. The computer says that is 63 miles and should take one hour and 13 minutes. But my friend says the computer has never been on Interstate 70 and 270 at rush hour.

“Maybe that’s an hour and 13 minutes to the D.C. line, but then we have to get downtown through traffic,” he said.

Several years back, we heard from a group of Air Force employees who commuted by van from the eastern shore (near Dover, Del.,) to the Pentagon. They said it worked because nobody was ever late at his/her pickup point.

Teleworking is growing, slowly. It is supposed to help make a dent in gridlock, which is a major problem in the Washington area. Last week — because of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington — OPM encouraged D.C.-area employees who could telework to do so. Traffic was bad, and it rained off and on. The telework call was smart. And it will probably be used again, even for nonemergencies.

Meantime, a lot of people have no choice, if they want to work, but to commute a fair distance. So how do you get to work? And how long does it take you? Got any good stories about what you’ve seen — or done yourself — while on the commuter trail?

Let us know. Could be fun. Should be interesting. Maybe even scary. Fire away:

Want to see the official commuting data from your area? Click here.


Compiled by Jack Moore

The term “vitamin” was first used by a Polish scientist named Cashmir Funk. It’s derived from the Latin words “vita,” for “life” and the suffix “amine” used to denote certain compounds.

(Source: Today I Found Out)


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