Super Commutes in California


How long does it take for you to get to work? For many people, the answer to this question is simple and inconsequential. A commute to work for most people usually doesn't last more than a half hour. However, a growing number of Californians are facing a different reality. Thanks to increasing housing costs in some of California's largest cities, more and more people are being forced to undertake incredibly long commutes.

The city of Stockton is a chilling example. According to research, about 8 percent of commuters who work in Stockton travel 90 minutes or more every morning and evening. What motivates people to make these incredibly long commutes? Part of it has to do with the recovering economy. Commute times fell across the country during the recession. Now that the economy is firing up again in California, a housing crisis has forced people to live great distances from the workplace. One woman, a 61-one-year-old federal worker, endures a commute that take three hours on two trains and a bus.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight for these insane commutes. As long as tech companies continue to locate their headquarters in major Californian cities, affordable housing will be harder and harder to find. This pushes new tech workers towards the surrounding suburbs, an action that ultimately drives up housing costs in new areas. The cycle then repeats itself in suburbs that were once affordable to new workers and older residents.

There are dangers in the rise of super commutes. For example, super commutes can wreck havoc on the health and home lives of workers. Worker productivity can suffer as a result. Also, super commutes put a strain on transportation services and increase California's reliance on fossil fuels.

Perhaps the most pressing concern involves the displacement of vital city works by super commutes. If highly paid tech workers are priced out of affordable housing in major Californian cities, imagine what that does to teachers, police officers, firefighters, and the other public workers a thriving city needs. A city deprived of these workers cannot survive long.

Maybe something will happen to end the trend of super commutes. Until that time, people will continue to endure long hours in vehicles, buses, and trains. What are your thoughts on the rise of super commutes in California? Do you or someone you know endure a super commute? Let us know below!