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Most Expensive Commute? SF, NYC? Try D.C.

By April 29, 2019January 13th, 2022No Comments

New York City, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley routinely top the lists of most expenses to live.

But if you’re a commuter, guess what? They are not the most expensive places to commute. That honor goes to Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg conducted a study that looked at commuting county by county. It used the opportunity cost commuters face with longer commutes by taking the hours spent commuting turning them into dollars. Bloomberg used the average annual income of full-time work to create its index. Earlier commutes also factored into the rankings.

The findings

Seven DC – area counties landed in the top 10, with Charles Country, Maryland commuters having an opportunity cost of about $14,600, which is about 19 percent of income.

Counties Contra Costa, California, Carroll, Maryland, and Sussex, New Jersey all placed in the top 10, with high opportunity costs for commuters.

And while counties from D.C. and other large metro areas made the list, there were a couple of surprises. Matanuska Susitna County (Anchorage, Alaska) and Warren County, New Jersey (Allentown, Penslyvania) also qualified.

Commuters in these areas are often trading a long commute from a place they want to live for the high-wage jobs typically found in urban areas. Housing costs can also play a role, especially in a place like D.C. Round-trip commutes can range 80 minutes, but the average 2-bedroom, 1,100 square foot home in the city is nearly $550,000, according to Zillow.

Want to learn more about the Washington DC Transit Ordinance? Download our toolkit.

Reduce the cost of the commute

Thankfully, D.C. has a commuter benefits law, but not every area on the list does. Commuter benefits can save you up to 40 percent on commuting costs and used for mass transit, rideshares, and qualified parking.

A D.C. commuter who is married and making $100,000 per year could save more than $1,110 with commuter benefits.

Employers save up $41 per month for  each participating employee. If 50 employees participate over  12 months. The company saves over $24,000  annually.*

You don’t need to work or own a business in an area that has a commuter benefits law to get benefits. Download our guide below and learn how commuter benefits work.

Download the Commuter Benefits 101 Guide