This Pennsylvania town has the worst commute in the country

Traffic is jammed up on the Schuylkill Expressway. Commute times in Philadelphia are the getting longer — but a small town in the Poconos has the longest average commute in the country.

Traffic can be a bear in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city, but a town in the Poconos that’s home to actual bears has earned the distinction of having the worst commute time in the nation, according to findings recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Workers in East Stroudsburg, Monroe County, about two hours north of Philly, have an average commute time of 38.6 minutes one way, while it takes Philly commuters an average of 31.5 minutes to get to work, according to the 2016 data.

So why would workers in a town of about 10,000 people in the Poconos have a worse commute time than those in Philly, New York and Los Angeles? Because many of the commuters who live in East Stroudsburg are traveling at least 75 miles to New York City every day just to go to work.

Other places near the top of the longest-commute list included:

  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains metropolitan area, which had an average commute time of 37.1 minutes
  • New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area (35.9 minutes)
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C metro area (34.4 minutes).

The East Stroudsburg commute is actually down from 39.3 minutes in 2009, while commutes in Philly have risen by more than 2½ minutes in the same time period. The commute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s second-largest city, rose a little less than a minute-and-a-half, from 25.1 minutes in 2009 to 26.5 minutes in 2016.

Meanwhile, public transportation ridership is on the increase in Philly. In 2009, 11.7 percent of workers commuted by public transit. That number jumped to 21.3 percent in 2016.