Number of 'super commuters' grows in Philly, nationally

Super commuters prefer public transit to driving, the latest study from Apartment List finds.

Nationally, one in 36 commuters travels more than 90 minutes to get to work each day — a Sisyphean task with a neoliberal euphemism: super commuting. According to a new report from Apartment List, the share of super commuters has risen 15.9 percent nationwide since 2005. As of 2016, 2.8 percent of all commuters were making the 90-plus-minute trek each way.

Apartment List (and others) attribute this development to soaring housing costs. If you can’t afford to live in the expensive urban core where your job is, you’re likelier to move farther out and endure a commute to keep your career on track.

That combination is particularly potent in Philadelphia, where one in 34 commuters spends more than 90 minutes getting to work. The same report says that 2.9 percent of all local commuters have super commutes and that the share of Philadelphia super commuters has risen 11.8 percent since 2005. It’s possible the only entity excited about this development is SEPTA: Super commuters are more likely to rely on public transit than private vehicles.

Nationally, the hubs of super commuters are mainly coastal. Apartment List surmises that Allentown’s super commuters are heading to Philadelphia and New York City. Bridgeport’s super commuters are heading to New York City, as are the majority of the super commuters in New Jersey and the rest of New York. On the West Coast, absurd property prices and rental rates make for massive super-commuter populations surrounding San Francisco and San Jose.

The whole report also includes cities that experienced a decline in super commuters.

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