Bay Area leads nation in ‘mega-com­muters’

It should come as no surprise that the Bay Area topped the Census Bureau’s list of America’s regions with the worst “mega-commutes.”

A mega-what? The term mega-commuter was coined to describe people who spend at least 90 minutes and travel 50 miles to get to work.

To give the numbers perspective, a commuter who slogs 90 minutes each day, each way spends more than 31 full days every year getting to or from work.

While the Census Bureau has been tracking this type of information for years, their report, released Tuesday, is the first of its kind listing areas with the worst mega-commutes.

And whether this makes you feel better or not, according to Census numbers in 2000, the amount of mega-commuters hasn’t changed. Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau statistician and author of the brief said:

“The percentage of workers who took 90 minutes or longer to get to work — and that’s a pretty long time one-way — in the year 2000 was right between 2 and 3 percent of all workers, and that’s actually stayed about the same, according to our most recent data.”

While the Bay Area took spot number one on the list,  New York City, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles followed closely behind.

Experts say it makes sense the Bay Area would be in first place. Our outrageous housing prices in city centers are causing more people to move outside of the major cities and opt to drive in nasty traffic every day to get to work.

However, not all mega-commuters are sitting in the dreaded traffic on the Bay Bridge. Some people have long commutes on public transportation, McKenzie said:

“The average travel time for workers who commute by public transportation is higher than that of workers who use other modes. For some workers, using transit is a necessity, but others simply choose a longer travel time over sitting in traffic.”

In short, the report found that Bay Area workers are four times more likely than the average American worker to be a mega-commuter. Ouch!

Thinking about all this time people spend commuting, we can’t help but wonder if Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had it wrong with she canceled her company’s telecommuting option.