Starting Monday, I'll be returning to my car to commute across state lines to the Inquirer's office in Cherry Hill. That's why I read the recent U.S. Census report on commuting with more than passing interest.
In driving from Philadelphia, where I live, to Cherry Hill, I'll be bucking the trend for Pennsylvanians. Not surprisingly, given the size of our state, only a minority of us travel across state lines to work. By contrast, one in six New Jersey types, and slightly more from Delaware, work outside their home states. One in four Americans work outside their home counties.
My commute to Cherry Hill should take me about 45 minutes, nearly double the average commute of 25.5 minutes. Thank God, I'm not among the 10.8 million people who travel an hour or more to work, or the mega-commuters like my friend Donna's daughter, who travels from Philadelphia to Newark by car and train, a commute well over 90 minutes. There are 600,000 people like her, the U.S. Census says. For years, one of my neighbors commuted to Manhattan. Why? He couldn't afford a house large enough to hold his family of eight daughters and a son. In Philly, his family filled a roomy twin.
Most commuters, four out of five, drive alone to work, although only three out of five of the 10.8 million long commuters drive alone. Many of them, about 23 percent, prefer public transit.