8 Cities With the Most Expensive Commutes — and a Few Ways to Save Money
I commute 5.6 miles to work each day: 5 miles via my car, 0.6 miles via my feet.
In all, the trek takes an average of 30 minutes — a most perfect podcast period.
I drive one of those recalled diesel Volkswagens, so although I’m killing the environment, I get good mileage. If I’m not traveling any extra, I can probably go a month without the $50 refill for my tank — maybe even longer.
Plus, parking’s free (hence the 0.6 mile walk).
My biggest commuting concern is timing the traffic signals.
As it turns out, I’m actually pretty lucky.
LendingTree just released a whole bunch of numbers about the cost of Americans’ commutes. And, it looks like the commute for a lot of you is heckin’ long — and pretty pricy.
8 Cities with the Most Expensive Daily Commutes
Planes, trains and automobiles… We all have our commuting preferences. (Holla if you’ve got a plane!) However, 64.4% of us drive to work, according to the Pew Research Center.
So let’s consider: Which cities are the most expensive for workers to drive and park? And what’s the best, cheapest alternative if you live in those cities?
1. New York: $546.47 per month
I’ve never lived in NYC, but I know I’d never, ever try to drive to work.
For me, it’s because I’m not good in traffic. Plus, the price to park is insane: $430 a month. (That’s more than I paid for rent in college.)
Your best bet is to take the bus or subway; the monthly cost for that is $116.50.
2. Boston: $532.89 per month
Although Augustana made Boston seem appealing back in high school, I can’t say the price of commuting does the same.
Think about taking the bus or subway, which is nearly half the price of New York’s public transportation, ringing up at $84.50 a month.
On the bright side, Boston boasts the shortest commute distance at 5.6 miles.
3. Chicago: $525.87 per month
The average commute distance in Chicago is a rounded 10 miles.
However, you might want to ditch your car and jump on the bus or subway for $100 a month. It could save you more than $400 each month.
4. Miami: $476.90 per month
Miami has a $239.50 registration fee for cars — but that’s a one-time thing, according to LendingTree. Get that out of the way, and you should be fine.
Of course, you’re better off taking a bus for an average of $112.50 a month. Whatever you do, though, don’t take a taxi. The average monthly cost for that service is $2,059.64
5. San Francisco: $472.70 per month
Its daily commute pairs well with its cost of rent.
Interestingly enough, it’d only cost you an average $20 more per month to take an Uber to work, which seems a heck of a lot more convenient.
Again, you’ll want to jump on the bus or subway if you’re looking to save. That cost is pretty low at $73 a month.
6. Baltimore: $461.55 per month
OK, I don’t think LendingTree is being fair to Baltimore. Like Miami, it adds in the vehicle registration fee of $135 and $138 title fee. Again: That’s a one-time thing.
Take that out of consideration, commuting to work by car — including parking — averages under $200 a month.
But it’s only $68 to hop on the bus or metro.
7. Philadelphia: $432.13 per month
Philadelphia: Where dreams of parking your car go to die.
This city has some of the highest parking costs at an average of $313.25 a month. For that, you might as well take Uber. In total, the average ride cost will be only a few cents more per month.
Aside from DC, Philly has the highest public transportation cost at nearly $150 a month.
I’m just going to go eat a cheesesteak now.
8. Seattle: $395.78 per month
Driving and parking in Seattle isn’t so bad. I suspect I’d spend about as much on Starbucks. (Just kidding.)
Whatever you do, don’t opt for Uber in this coffee-fueled city. The $1.35 per mile rate makes it the second most expensive, behind New York City.
Public transportation averages $63 a month.
Other Factors to Consider — Plus Alternatives
Commuting to work is full of variables. I realize it’s not just the cost — although that is a main concern.
There’s also the whole time thing. The average American spends 26 minutes commuting to work — nine days of commuting each year, according to The Washington Post.
Your next option? Make some friends at the office.
Be the social butterfly you are and team up with others to carpool. Many large cities have parking lots specifically paved for carpoolers. Then, you can split the mileage, the gas and the parking fee — maybe even answer an email or two before walking in the office.
Some cities will even pay you to carpool.
Award for most innovative? One of our employees chooses to ride his electric bike to work.
Your Turn: How much do you spend a month on your commute?
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.