Over the past few decades commutes to and from work have steadily increased. As large cities grow outward and families move into suburban areas, commute times increase for those who work downtown or in other parts of the city.
Recent real estate studies have shown that potential home buyers now measure a commute in minutes, not distance. Therefore, adequate transit infrastructure is essential for a large city.
Your daily commute can have an affect on your job satisfaction – and your wallet.
Personally, I am one of the suburbanites who live out in the suburbs but work downtown. I am lucky I can take rapid transit to work and it is (usually) quite efficient.
My commute time is about 35 minutes each way, but if I were to drive to/from work it would take me about 45 minutes each way.
I was curious as to whether this is normal or not, so I looked up some international commute times. Here are some commute times of some major cities in 2013, stated in daily minutes (to work & back home):
|Commute (in minutes)|
Judging from the table above, it looks like my commute is about average. I have noticed a commute does have an effect on our transportation costs:
- Insurance rates. If I were to drive to work, I would pay a higher rate for our auto insurance because the distance to work is about 10 kilometers.
- Gas. This one is obvious, the longer you’re on the road, the more gas you will use. This is another key reason it’s important to consider your current vehicle and your lifestyle when deciding on any future job opportunities.
- Parking. Parking at the train stations varies between different cities, but in my city it can cost $70 per month for a reserved spot. This would likely increase over time with inflation. If I wanted to drive to work and park downtown I would pay about $450 a month – a huge cost that I am not willing to pay.
- Transit passes. I do buy a monthly transit pass as it is the cheapest way to use transit for me, and it currently costs $96/month (this will also increase with inflation).
- Vehicle wear & tear. If I drove to work, our vehicle would see much more usage and this would shorten it’s useful life. We plan on keeping our current car for 12-15 years, but if I drove to work it would probably be much less.
As much as I love my job, part of me wishes I had a commute of 5 minutes or less.
The plus side is that when I retire we will drive less, likely have one vehicle (that is fuel efficient) and I won’t need a transit pass or parking spot. A big cost savings that is one aspect of retirement to look forward to – among many others.
How is your commute to/from work? Do you notice it having an effect on your monthly budget?
Related: Property Tax Comparison