Mega-Commuters Take Manhattan

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Do you travel at least 90 minutes and 50 miles to get to work? The U.S. Census Bureau calls you a "mega-commuter" — and you're not alone.

About 2 percent of workers in the New York Metro Area are mega-commuters, according to American Community Survey figures released Tuesday.

The routes into Manhattan have some of the highest number of mega-commuters in the country. The flow into the city from Suffolk County, New York, and Fairfield County, Connecticut, are near the top of that list, behind two counties outside of Los Angeles.

Also in the top-ten for number of mega-commuters: Those who commute to New York from Pennsylvania's Monroe County — a 91-mile trip that takes about 2 hours each way.

Read more about mega-commuters at the census bureau website.


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Comments [30]

Jay from Ottawa, Ontario

Approximately how much commute time would have been involved in the late 90's (by subway only, if connections existed) during the morning rush hour between the Prospect Ave/Westchester subway entrance in the Bronx to the NY Stock Exchange on Wall Street?

Nov. 30 2013 01:07 PM

I live in Brooklyn and commute to Princeton. I'm an artist so I need/want to live in the city for my art-related work but go to Princeton to teach 2-3 days a week. It takes about 2.5 hrs each way. I find the commute exhausting and have tried many ways to use the time but can't find a way to make it feel sane. At the same time I love my job and I love living in the city so I don't see any way around it for the time being. I will just keep trying to find ways to make njtransit and penn station more bearable. Will take suggestions!

Mar. 13 2013 09:09 PM
Shawn from Bronx

My commute door-to-door from Riverdale to Spring St. in Manhattan is 1.5 hr. For this type of commute I've been thinking about moving to Westchester for more space -- However, moving out of the city requires one to use more expensive transportation options.

Mar. 12 2013 01:56 PM
Raritan Valley, NJTransit -- Disaster

Japan and its 30 minute commutes covering dozens of hours is like, 400 years in the future compared to NJ -- where 25 miles takes 1.5 hours.

A mile a minute? I would settle for wifi! So many folks move from Brooklyn to Raritan Valley Line - and then realize the error they've made and move elsewhere (often to a more modern region of the country).

Mar. 08 2013 02:24 PM
Ace from New Utrecht

I live pretty far out in Brooklyn, 11214 and the 45 minutes cited on the map is on the nose. I occurs to me that those of us who live far out and have longer commutes on the subway enjoy the benefit of being able to sit as opposed to those who live closer, a naturally occuring egalitarian benefit!

Mar. 07 2013 12:33 PM

From Newburgh,NY to midtown Manhattan. Commuting time about 2 hours door to door give or take. Metro-North Railroad is mostly always on time and the train ride is lovely (Hudson Line). Got some super express runs (Beacon-GCT and back).

The commuting is not so much about the time, but money. A monthly ticket from Beacon to GCT is $444 now.

Mar. 06 2013 07:54 PM
R Troy from Long Island

When I commuted into the city, the train ride was 43 miles, the drive 2.5 miles, the subway and walk varied. But the Long Island Rail Road (aka Snail Road) 43 mile took from 60 to 90 minutes, plus you had to be at the station on Long Island long before the train (about 30 minutes) to get a parking space. Total round trip was about 4 hours every day. Truly disgusting and time wasting. And that was on a good day, when LIRR didn't have a breakdown (ignoring weather problems).

Mar. 06 2013 07:38 PM
Jon from Honolulu

I think it's a great interface, and I'm personally excited to see explore this data. Unfortunately, your map of the United States fails to include the 49th and 50th states. I see you mention this limitation in the _fine print_ within the Data portion of the map interface. But why have you neglected the non-contiguous states even though they are present in the Census data?

In the spirit of good data presentation, please have the name of your map correctly match the data represented.

Mar. 06 2013 07:04 PM

I commute from Port Jervis, NY to Manhattan. The train ride alone is 2 hrs. 10 min. give or take a bit depending on which train I take and then anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour for the PATH ride from Hoboken to 14th Street. On the other hand, I have a fairly new 3-bedroom 2.5-bath house with a bonus room on a quiet dead-end street that is just three blocks from the station.

Sometimes the trip is hard, but it's worth it.

Mar. 06 2013 05:08 PM
btsNbts from Brooklyn

I'd be interested in seeing these numbers compared somehow to the cost of real estate. Living in the city (or closer to it) is incredibly hard and expensive if you have kids or want an apartment larger than a studio. Brooklyn is quickly becoming this way too. I think if this was done over a period of years, you'd see more and more megacommuters as real estate prices push the middle class further and further out of the city.

Mar. 06 2013 02:53 PM
lafou from

I commute from the North Shore of Long Island to FiDi. I switched from the LIRR to GoBuses, which has an express bus. The travel time is about the same (longer in traffic), but it's much better than the jostle & hustle of changing at Jamaica & then taking a subway. It's cheaper,too.

Mar. 06 2013 02:14 PM

I commute from Otisville, NY 5 days a week. Door to door it's 2 hrs 10 minutes. I have a 1 hr 10 minute bus ride each way, so I'm getting an extra 2 hours of sleep every day. I have no complaints about the commute -I have the best of both worlds... great job in the city and when I get home I have 25 acres filled with bear, deer, coyote, bobcat... and a view of the hudson valley.

Mar. 06 2013 11:00 AM
Richard Hershner from Stratford, Fairfield County, CT

For years I have commuted from Stratford, CT, which is the farthest out town still in Fairfield County. When my income has allowed, I have also had an apartment in the City because the 2 hour plus commute each way door-to-door is grueling.

And, the older one gets, the harder it is. Eventually, the result for me has been burn-out. And, this makes no sense when you live alone and have no kids to put through public schools, which is my case.

At least over the years Metro-North has greatly increased the number of trains and options as far as express trains for the long hauls. But, to me the question has always been can I afford not to live in the City if the alternative is to lose the income and career possibilities I have there because the commute is unbearable.

Mar. 06 2013 12:58 AM
Peacemaker from CT

I commute from CT to downtown NYC : 2.5 Hrs door-to-door each way. FML

Mar. 05 2013 11:03 PM
John from Berkeley Heights, NJ

I'm currently commuting from central NJ into SoHo (one block from Greene Space) five days a week. Door-to-door, the commute takes a little under 2 hours, assuming no delays. The problem for me isn't the travel time as much as it is the low frequency of trains going to where I live. There are multiple two-hour+ blocks throughout the day with no train service at all.

This makes it very hard to have any sort of flexibility in my schedule. I feel like I'm spending half my life waiting for trains.

I'll be moving to Astoria, Queens later this month -- my frustrating, exhausting commute had a lot to do with my decision to move.

Mar. 05 2013 09:53 PM
Violet from Brooklyn

@TOM from Sunset Park--Most likely because this isn't just about those who take transit--it's the commute time for all residents traveling via public transit and cars alike. It seems likely that a lot more residents of Bay Ridge own cars (and drive them to work) than do residents of Sunset Park. Waiting for the N or D at 59th/36th or taking the R all the way into Manhattan can take forever, so a car going the right route probably speeds it up.

Mar. 05 2013 09:44 PM
WNYC Newsroom

Thanks Dean and Rick for your comments, we will be reading them on air. Keep 'em coming, mega-commuters! We want to hear your stories.

Mar. 05 2013 03:39 PM
Gary Jarrell from 19067

I live near Trenton NJ and travel to Philadelphia or New York. When I go to Philadelphia I see the travel time is 24 mintues. that is about right when there is no traffic. You make the same drive at rush hour and it take between 1 to 2 hours. New York takes 1.5 hours by train to Wall Street.

Mar. 05 2013 03:38 PM
Goochie from Rockaway Park

I commute everyday from Rockaway Park to the Upper West Side every day. I leave home at 8am to walk into my office at 10am. I leave the office at 4pm and on average get home around 6pm. Sandy still has the MTA messed up out this way.

Mar. 05 2013 03:30 PM

I have over 1.5 hours and I listen to audiobooks, wnyc, or try and learn languages. Currently I am teaching myself mandarin.

Mar. 05 2013 03:14 PM
Rick Sanchez

Middletown, NY to various clients along the way down to NYC, ending up in my Bronx office in Pelham Bay.

Total driving can reach 200 miles in a day 4 to 5 days a week.

Annual mileage in excess of 50G

Mar. 05 2013 02:44 PM
TOM from Sunset Park

Why is it that the commute from Bay Ridge is shorter that southern Sunset Park when both use the R line and Bay Ridge is further from the Central Business District, and Downtown Broolyn?

Mar. 05 2013 02:01 PM
Kat from Queens

I'm confused- are time times listed people commuting TO that area for work (as in the average commute for someone working in the Financial District is about 23 minutes) or is this the average commute for someone LIVING there?

Mar. 05 2013 01:59 PM
Eileen from Upper West Side

The times are average times people in those towns or places commute to work, not to Manhattan. Some of the people in East Northport may work in the town, so their commute time is 10 minutes. Most people would rather work closer to their home but if there is a big city, like NYC, nearby they are likely to consider this locale vs getting a job in their local town, which probably pays less.

Mar. 05 2013 01:12 PM

People often cite living space as a reason to put up with a long commute, so it's all about what you want. Personally I'd sacrifice a few thousand square feet of "living space" for an hour or more of time each day but that's me. How much of that space is actually used to live instead of store stuff that you've accumulated? That and the social status you get from living in the suburbs is higher in some circles as well. Can't forget that.

Mar. 05 2013 01:08 PM
Dean Carroll from Bronx

I willingly accept the moniker although l fear many view this as a pejorative. As highlighted elsewhere local housing costs are untenable while suffering through a super commute is a good trade off for decent and affordable housing. My commute takes 1 1/2 hours. I live in Newburgh NY and I love where I live and so do many of my friends although they would never make the trip I make daily. I lived in Brooklyn before moving 7 years ago. My home is over 5,000 square feet. I couldn't afford a third of that living space in the city.

Mar. 05 2013 01:01 PM
Judd Schechtman from New York, NY

The reason people supercommute is very simple - housing costs. For all that Bloomberg has done to create new housing supply in the city, what we have built in his tenure is still woefully inadequate. I fear whoever the next Mayor is will not be as agressive as he has been in promoting new construction, and the problem will only worsen, along with the attendant congestion, health and safety hazards, and global-warming inducing GHG emissions.

Mar. 05 2013 11:43 AM

Yeah. . this has to be generally speaking and not to a particular location. Because 30 mins it is not.

Mar. 05 2013 11:23 AM
Brian Clissold

These are average commute times, period. Not average commute times to Manhattan right? It lists the average commute time in Princeton, NJ as about 25 minutes. Unless by chopper, that's impossible to Manhattan.

Mar. 05 2013 10:56 AM

32 minutes from East Northport to NYC? Laughable.

Mar. 05 2013 10:39 AM

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