are two-hour commutes normal?

A reader writes:

I recently moved to southern California from New York City. In New York, my commute, door to door, from Soho to Bushwick was about 35-45 minutes, which included a 20-minute subway ride.

Here in California, I recently (2.5 months ago) accepted a new job as an EA for a great company that’s about 30 miles away. I read about LA traffic before, but thought “how bad can it REALLY be?!” … turns out, it’s even worse than people said. If I am lucky, I am in traffic for 1.5 hours. On not so good days (every day except Mondays), it’s more like 2-2.5 hours. 30 miles in 2.5 hours. That’s below 15 mph the entire way. It’s absolutely aggravating and I do not think I can keep this up much longer.

My hours are definitely not flexible (ideally I’d be working 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — I absolutely cannot leave after 4 p.m. without hitting a majorly clogged highway — any highway — that leads out of where I work) and my boss likes to come in/stay late. I am his assistant and I understand bringing up flex hours for my role will 99% not work. I am ready to apologize, explain my situation, and start looking around for something closer.

But my boyfriend, who was born and raised in Orange County, keeps insisting a two-hour commute is normal. Am I crazy? How long does everyone commute daily? The other day I had to leave at 4 p.m. to take my cat to the vet at (6:30 p.m.!) and I barely even made it to the appointment because traffic was so bad. I get up at 4 a.m., go to the gym to beat traffic, get home at 7:30-8 p.m. and am in bed by 9 so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel. I feel like I have no life!

Could you shoot this one out to your readers? I’m curious what everyone thinks is a normal commute.

LA does have notoriously horrible commutes, but two hours one way sounds ridiculous even for LA (although apparently not unheard of).

The average commute in the U.S. is 26 minutes, according to Census data. You can see them broken down by metro area here and by county here.

Ultimately I think the question for you is not what’s normal for your region, but what feels doable and sustainable for you in the long-term. This one doesn’t sound like it is.

{ 853 comments… read them below }

  1. Amber T

    Nope nope nope nope nope nope.

    Six minute commute here. Anything over than 30mins by car would be a nope for me. I’d stomach 60 mins if most of it was by train.

    1. I'll come up with a clever name later.

      I’m with you. My commute is 7 minutes from door to door. I do leave 30 minutes before my shift starts so I have ample time to drop my son off at school, stop for a caffeinated beverage and get to work with several minutes to spare but my actual “in-the-car-driving” time is 15 minutes with all of that added in there. I even have a part time job that is 6 minutes from my house in the opposite direction so on the nights that I leave one job and go straight to the other my commute is still less than 15 minutes. Anything more would made me very anxious.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      OP, your commute is 100% driven by where you live and LA traffic patterns. Distance in miles is not how the commute is measured in LA/OC, and a 2-hour commute could be entirely normal based on where you live.

      For example, I lived by Sundet Junction/Silverlake and worked in the San Gabriel Valley (~16 miles), and my commute was 20-45 minutes because I was on a reverse-commute path. But if I had to commute to West Hollywood (~ 6 miles), it could easily take 45-90 minutes. And if your commute cuts through Downtown LA? Easily 1-2 hours more.

      So your commute really comes down to strategic choices about where you live (and I’d you can afford it), traffic patterns, and where you work. Unfortunately, if you want a shorter commute, you may have to move.

      1. Original Poster!

        I live in LB and commute to Weho @Princess Consuela. I think… that explain it all.

        1. Leenie

          Oh man, OP – you might want to look at work in Orange County if you really need to stay in Long Beach (and can’t find a good position in Long Beach itself). The patterns would be a little kinder.

        2. Rachel

          I live in LB too. God, that is a terrible commute. Weho is not near a freeway and you have to drive the dreaded 405. I work in Costa Mesa and it takes me an hour (16 miles away). I used to live in Hollywood and I’m on the freeway 3-4 hours daily. Welcome to Southern California =)

          1. Original Poster!

            That’s where my BF works too. I am definitely looking for something closer and started shooting out my resume to 10 miles within LB, and got a few bites already. Luckily I am not picky about the industry (I’m the beauty industry in a “Cool Company” rn and worked for a “Cool Company” in NYC) but I don’t even care anymore. I’d rather do “cool” stuff in my time off and take a pay cut. Sigh!

            1. Ali

              Count your commute as work hours when you start looking for a new job. Those hours add up, and a few extra dollars isn’t always worth a longer commute.

              1. Original poster!

                Yep! Exactly. My $5 raise from my nyc job is just gas money. I fill up 2 times a week @35-38 dollars. I don’t even drive on the weekend ever (we either take my boyfriends car or his motorcycle) so it’s all gas for work

            2. Judge Crater

              Many years ago we moved away from Orange Country and traffic was one of the big reasons. Ironically for us that meant moving to San Francisco (the actual city). Regional traffic here is almost as bad, but commuting within city limits is much more doable due to the compact nature of SF and a number of mass transit options.

              We have a lot of friends who settled in Long Beach, but face the same issues as you – if you have to travel any distance to your job it can be quite taxing. The only way I see people make it work is to have jobs you can start really early – like be in the office at 6:00 AM and leave work at 2:oo PM.

            3. Ellen N.

              I’ve lived in L.A. all my life. 2 to 2.5 hour commutes are long even by our standards, but not unheard of. I’ve had several coworkers with 1.5 hour to 2 hour commutes.

              A word of warning about looking for jobs within 10 miles of Long Beach. Depending on traffic, 10 miles can take over an hour. I used to work in Century City which is less than 4 miles from my house. It took me 45 minutes to come home. If you drive from the beach to our house (5 miles) during traffic it can easily take over an hour. I highly recommend that before accepting an offer you drive the commute during rush hour.

              1. Lea Kissner

                Silly question: why not bike or even walk instead? The weather is compatible and for that distance it should be much, much faster.

                1. Flower

                  I did undergrad outside of LA. Leaving in May and returning in September missed the worst of the hot season, but even so, the first few weeks of fall semester were regularly over 100 on a daily basis (frequently over 110). Biking 10 miles in that sounds like a recipe for heat stroke. The rest of the year would probably be fine weather-wise! But that assumes (1) each of these people are physically capable of biking long distances (personally I look healthy but my body is terrible and I couldn’t) and (2) there are actually useable bike routes along the way. LA isn’t great for that as far as I’ve seen and I can’t imagine drivers there being fantastic about sharing the road.

                2. RedRH

                  Biking isn’t doable in every city unfortunately – I live in Tampa and am 10 miles from work, which, depending on traffic, can take 20-50 minutes. The city was definitely designed with cars in mind and commuting by bike would be a nightmare. Plus, it’s Florida and OP is in southern California, so I doubt that we could survive the heat (not to mention the frequent summer rainstorms here in the summer)

            4. EJW

              OP, do you work for Colourpop?!

              Is it possible to break into the beauty industry as a remote worker, ie not living in NYC or LA? I’m in content marketing and would love to work for a beauty company but I own a house in rural New England and the city life’s not for me.

            5. FoxyDog

              OP, your best bet is probably living in the Valley (North Hollywood-ish) and take one of the canyons over the mountains. That’s closer to 45 minutes – 1 hour. I used to do a similar commute. LA traffic is the worst. I now live in Central CA and have a 30 minute commute…but it’s 25 miles. It feels so much shorter when you’re actually driving a reasonable speed.

              1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

                UGH, have lived in the valley, 0/10, would not repeat. Hot, muggy, smoggy, YUCK.
                Long Beach is SO much nicer. I’d take a pay cut to work closer to LB over living in the valley for ANY amount of money.

            6. Lunita

              I’m sure you’ve gotten all the advice you need by now, but just one more for you: I’ve lived in So Cal my whole life and would never entertain a commute that long. Traffic is bad-and others certainly do have commutes that long-but a more reasonable one is possible. LB to Weho sounds terrible.

              I live in NE LA and work in North Hollywood, which is about 17 miles and usually takes between 30-45 minutes. Best of luck finding something new.

          2. Anonymoose

            Exactly. I used to live in LB and HB have worked in Santa Monica all the way south to Corona Del Mar. My prefferred way south was always PCH. My preferred way north: didn’t exist It’s just not worth it. It would be one thing if you lived in Redondo or Fullerton, as there are side streets to get you there if the freeway is f*cked, but 405 just isn’t worth it if you’re not making a killing at your job.

            There are a lot of jobs in OC. Do yourself a favor…

            1. Dearhearts

              Agreed, Anonymoose. Also lived in LB, commuted to Newport/CDM. Could sometimes shave a few minutes by taking the freeway, but PCH was always, always worth the the extra 10 or so. Can’t beat the scenery and the ocean air. If I couldn’t stand it I’d sometimes pull into the metered lots at the cliffs of HB and go for a walk on the beach or a swim.

              1. bookbot

                This is comforting, I am preparing to move to Malibu to live with an elderly family member and dreading the commute. I’m looing at jobs in Santa Monica, so it’s good to hear the PCH is a nice drive.

            1. Original Poster!

              I hate to sound like an ass about this but the train LB to DTLA goes through all the neighborhoods I don’t really feel comfortable going through that early in the morning (I’m 5’1 and look super young despite being 30) esp. if I wanted to sleep. I also go to the gym near work every morning which is important to me and couldn’t really do that. :(

              1. Ali

                I’m a young woman who commuted from OC to LA for years via the metro in my early 20s. It’s totally fine. But also yes, if you’re planning to stay in LB, it’s really better to find a job nearer to where you live. Welcome to CA! People do work very hard to coordinate their living locations in a place that makes sense for their work locations here for sure.

              2. Vanessa

                +1
                I used to take the Red Line in my 20s and thought it was fine but the Blue Line is different… I work in LB now and live near DTLA. I do not feel safe taking Blue Line and neither does my husband who is a 6 ft big dude.

              3. Hnl123

                I had to reply to this. I’m a slight woman, Asian, in my mid twenties and took the train from LB to DTLA for work. Yes it goes through those neighborhoods but I never once felt threatened or scared or anything. Plus I saved so much money not driving and just listened to music and enjoyed my coffee. Have you actually taken the train? It’s really not that bad and I worry perhaps your judgement is based on stereotypes about said neighborhoods.

                1. zh.

                  I am an average-sized white female. I have been on the Metro many times, including the blue line going through Compton at 1am, and never felt unsafe. People are busy going about their own lives no matter whether you’re in South Central or Wilshire Blvd. The only thing about the train is it takes forever to get anywhere — so, kind of like your 2-hour commute, but without you having to steer :)

              4. Recent LA-er

                I’m 5’4″ and not exactly tough-looking, but I used public transit regularly while living in downtown LA for seven years before moving out of the area last fall. The trains are fine. It sounds like your worry is more about the neighborhoods, so maybe it would help you to look up the crime statistics for the Blue Line. I think you’ll find that it is quite safe. Plus, you’ve probably noticed by now that LA drivers are horrible – ignoring red lights, racing up shoulders, etc. Your odds of staying safe on the road are probably not as good as you’re assuming.

                That aside though, if both you and the guy work in LA, why not just move there? There are lots of nice areas that aren’t super expensive, and it would immediately solve both of your commutes.

              5. Cassie the First

                I wouldn’t recommend the Blue Line to anyone, not if they had other alternatives. I rode the BL for a few years in the early aughts for school/work – it was a little bad then but it’s getting worse. It’s not the neighborhoods so much that are the problem (you’re not usually spending much time in those neighborhoods) but the people riding the train. There are a lot of people selling stuff, panhandling, or just riding the trains to get off the streets. Homelessness is a big issue on the Metro. It would be one thing if they kept to themselves while riding the train (which is what most people do) but I’ve seen them curse out other passengers for no reason. I even saw a 20-something female tourist who got slapped in the face by some lady, completely out of the blue (this was the Red Line). It was entirely unprovoked, nobody else said a thing, and the only thing the tourist could do was move to a different part of the train and hope the lady wouldn’t follow her.

                I don’t want to turn people completely off of public transportation but you do have to be aware of your surroundings, don’t make eye contact with people who seem to be looking to cause trouble, try to be invisible (essentially).

                1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

                  I have a friend whose BF was attacked and nearly beaten to death on one of the metro rail lines, but it was awhile back and I don’t remember which one. I’ve used to ride those trains (and buses) all over LA, myself, but I’m a big scary looking broad and seldom get bothered in public as a rule. I have other friends that live/travel on public transport in LA who get harassed by creeps, the homeless, & mentally ill people on almost a daily basis. The trains are generally safe, but they are still public transportation. If OP (or anyone else) doesn’t feel comfortable taking it, it’s not really very cool to try and push her into doing it.

          1. KR

            I came here to suggest the LA Metro! It has a lot of stops and is fairly well fleshed out (compared to the T in Boston, which I’m used to). It’s also better for the environment and limits your cars exposure to CA freeway road hazards, because we all know they’re not very well maintained and CA driver’s can be … Irrational. If you like music or podcasts or can read while you’re in a moving vehicle that might make your commute a lot more enjoyable!

          2. Ellen N.

            I checked and the ride on the Blue Line from Long Beach to Downtown L.A. takes over an hour. During surge pricing and bad traffic Uber/Lyft will be expensive and slow.

            Also, it looks like the Blue Line will be temporarily shut down.

            https://urbanize.la/post/metro-considers-temporary-shutdown-and-rebuild-blue-line

            In Los Angeles if you can’t bear a long commute you need a job that is very close to where you live and/or is the opposite direction than traffic. For example, I live on the Westside. When I had a job in the San Fernando Valley the commute was fine because the traffic went in the opposite direction.

            1. FoxyDog

              “For example, I live on the Westside. When I had a job in the San Fernando Valley the commute was fine because the traffic went in the opposite direction.”

              Living the dream!

            2. Uhmealeah

              Yes, this. 30’s, 5’3″, female here. Riding the train during commuting hours seems much different than late at night or on the weekend. I’ve ridden the train about a dozen times from LB up to downtown around 5ish (to go to Staples center) and it’s always been fine. Interestingly enough, the only sketchy/uncomfortable experience I’ve EVER had on LA Metro was on the Expo line late at night on the weekend. Although it make take the same amount of time to ride the train than to drive, it’s SO much less stressful and your company may even pitch in to pay for it. I think you should look for something closer but in the meantime, consider the blue + red line 1-2x/week.

          3. Aerin

            I’m super late to the party (hooray vacation and Feedly), but I lived in Anaheim and worked at USC (downtown LA) for a couple of years. Metrolink was an hour and a half door to door, but at least it was fairly consistent, and I could read/write/zone out so it didn’t feel like entirely wasted time.

            I slept on a friend’s couch for months because I was a candidate for an Imagineering internship and it took way longer than I was expecting to get a decision. I didn’t want to go ahead and find a place in Anaheim and then find out I was gonna have to commute to Burbank every morning.

        3. Anonymousaurus Rex

          Oh yes. I also live in LB, and I previously commuted to Culver City/Marina del Rey. It was 27 miles, and 2 hours one way most days. I ultimately left a job I LOVED because the commute was not sustainable after 18 months. One thing that really helped me (which might not be possible in your situation) was that I was able to work out one work from home day a week. So I worked from home on Wednesdays and that meant that I got a break from the 4 hours in the car mid-week.

          Another thing I did for a while was bike/train commute 1-2 times per week. This was a guaranteed 2 hours each way (45 mins on the train +11 miles of biking) but at least I got to “tune out” for the train ride for a bit.

          I now work in LB (and actually still get to WFH many days) and my quality of life is 500% better. They say the key to happiness in LA is a short commute–it’s totally true. I like my job a LOT less, but I have my sanity back.

          1. Triumphant Fox

            My last commute was 1.5 hours average, 1.25 on a good day, 2.5 on a terrible day and I loved that job. Long hours, stress and the commute just made it unsustainable. I’m in an area with long commutes (top 10 US), but even for here that was double many people (though not as bad as others – just not in my workplace). I stuck it out for a year and my new commute is still 50 minutes – but it’s a solid 50 with little variation and I cannot tell you how much my life has improved with less than an hour commute. I think that’s my cutoff. This job is also much more flexible.

            OP, commutes are really important to quality of life and employers understand when they’re not feasible. When I left, even though there were issues I had with burnout, the position, etc., citing the commute as my primary reason smoothed things over a lot.

          2. Original Poster!

            Ahhhhh, I’m so happy for you. I have a few bites for closer jobs already so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Your company doesn’t need someone who speaks fluent Russian or German do they? Haha! Jk :) But seriously, I’m glad it worked out for you. I love LB and do not want to leave. Hopefully soon I’ll get to spend more time at “home”.

            1. Judge Crater

              Check out Port of Los Angeles jobs – international shipping companies might like your language skills.

            2. H.C.

              Also consider LA County healthcare jobs closer to where you live – Russian is considered a threshold language in the county, so there is a requirement to make written materials and services accessible to Russian-primary or Russian-only residents.

            3. NorthernSoutherner

              OP, I’m older than you by 20, so let me share my thoughts on a long commute. They literally drain days from your life. Not to sound melodramatic, but… Once you find something closer to home, you will gain so many hours back you’ll wonder what to do with yourself. But you’ll figure it out. Enjoy!

          3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            I’ve lived in SoCal for 48 of my 51 years. I don’t think I’ve ever worked anywhere more than a 20, 25 minute drive away and usually far less than that.* I’ve had two jobs where I basically had to all across the street and through a large parking lot to get to them. I couldn’t handle a two hour each way commute for eighteen DAYS, let alone months. I’d walk out of my job before the first week ended.

            *Except for the time I was without a vehicle for awhile and that 20 minute commute turned into an hour and a half bus ride. But I was able to deal because I worked 6-7 hours a day, got a ride home (because there was literally no combination of buses that I could get home on at that hour), and took books, mending, and other busywork with me so I would be occupied on the bus ride.

        4. Pickle

          When I first started applying to jobs in LA from NYC, I applied to a job in Orange County even though my intention was to live with my best friend in Koreatown. Orange County comes up in a search for LA in idealist.org, so I didn’t even realize it wasn’t the same as LA. I got to the final round of interviews, and got a lot of funny looks when I explained how I was excited to relocate for this job because I really wanted to move to LA. I did not get the job.

            1. Pickle

              I feel so blessed that they didn’t hire me! Now I’m constantly having friends visit and being like “OK so we’re going to stay in Santa Monica and tomorrow we’ll go to the Norton Simon museum and then Universal Studios. . .” and they NEVER LISTEN.

              1. Ellen N.

                I hear you. I’m an Airbnb host. I live in West Los Angeles. I tell my guests to do Westside things (beach, Getty) on one day and Eastside things (Hollywood, Griffith Observatory) on a different day. They never listen.

                I had a guest tell me, “I drove from the Griffith Observatory to the Santa Monica pier and it took me an hour.” I told him that he’d been incredibly fortunate. That drive usually takes closer to two hours.

        5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          I’m so sorry, OP. You literally picked the third worst commute in LA. If you’re not willing to move, you’ll have to switch your hours to off-peak commute times or get a new job.

          In case you do think about moving: The first worst commute is Valley to west side, the second is San Gabriel Valley to Culver City area, and the third worst is south LA/Garden Grove/LB to anywhere north of DTLA, regardless of whether you’re going east or west of DTLA. :(

            1. Frank Doyle

              If you give me some idea of what you like, I can make audiobook recommendations! (Also comedy podcasts.)

                1. H.C.

                  I enjoy NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, which is a light-hearted way to catch up with current events.

                  For horror, I like Snap Judgment’s Spooked & Campfire Tales series and Lex Wahl’s Anything Ghost

                2. Anonymeece

                  Hope you don’t mind me interjecting, but I can recommend something if you like smart comedy!

                  They’re actually radio shows, but sold on audiobooks on Amazon, so I’d recommend Cabin Pressure and John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme. When my family drove to Colorado from San Antonio, we popped those in and it helped the drive a lot.

                3. Vauxhall Prefect

                  It’s not smart comedy in quite the same vein as those, but the No Such Thing as a Fish podcast is wonderful. They’re the staff of fact checkers from the tv show QI and have a weekly podcast taking a humorous look at facts they’ve learnt. They also put out a book called the Book of the Year which was great.

                  He’s probably not so well known in America, but I recommend pretty much anything from the British comedian David Mitchell too. There’s a radio sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Sound, his autobiography Back Story and a radio panel show called The Unbelievable Truth. All on Audible and all great!

            2. Anonymoose

              God, I miss LB. Is there still that delicious lebanese restaurant and french bakery on 2nd? My stomach and heart misses it so much.

          1. Pickle

            My partner was doing Pasadena-Westwood for awhile, I think that deserves at least an honorable mention.

            1. Former Employee

              Someone I know did the Westside to the SGV (San Gabriel Valley) commute. Total nightmare, but they had to do it (for years) because they had a good job in an industry that would not have had something comparable with a really good commute.

              For some years, I commuted from the SFV (San Fernando Valley) to the SGV. This was in the dark ages before there was a metro. Buses all the way. Eventually, I moved to the SGV. Luckily, I discovered I liked the SGV after working in the area for awhile.

              For people unfamiliar with the area, the SFV is northwest of LA (Los Angeles) while the SGV is northeast of LA.

            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              I guess my number 2 worst commute is “anywhere east of DTLA” to “anywhere west of Los Feliz.” :) It doesn’t matter if it’s Anaheim to LB, Pasadena to Westwood, etc. It’s the east to west part that makes it a shitshow.

              1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

                Anaheim to LB is easy! 91 to 605 to 7th st.
                You can also take the 710, but it has more traffic and I personally dislike driving it even when it’s empty (of course when I lived in LB it was right off the 710.)

            3. designbot

              yeah crossing the 405 definitely deserves mention. I did Culver City to Santa Monica for a while (before the expo line opened!) and most of it was fine. But the two blocks on either side of the 405 took 30 minutes. The rage was real.

            4. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

              I used to drive from OC to Pasadena once a month to sell at the Rose Bowl flea market, but since that was at the literal crack of ass on a Sunday, there was NEVER any traffic! X-D

        6. teclatrans

          Oh dear god, you commute up from Long Beach?!? No wonder. I hope to return to say more about LA traffic and choosing your jobs based on commute (which can include commuter buses, light rail, and “number of alternate driving routes available”), but the short version is: don’t let your boyfriend’s acceptance of a long commute pressure you into accepting something that you find exhausting and/or sou-killing. Californians absolutely choose jobs (and/or homes) based on the commute they can bear.

          1. LB not WC

            ^^This! My boyfriend lives in the Yucaipa/Redlands area and commutes 1.5 hrs to Anaheim every day and sees it as the norm, meanwhile I commute from LB to Anaheim (35-1hr) and it’s the max I’m willing to do. Everyone is different and your sanity should not be taken up by a commute if it does drive you crazy. I’m one of those people. It’s miserable and I understand completely!

          2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            Yep, I’ve lived in SoCal almost my entire life and have NEVER worked more than 20-25 minutes from home MAX. And that’s my hard limit!

            I wouldn’t take a job with a long commute in traffic no matter HOW much it paid. No amount of money is worth that kind of frustration.

        7. JubileeFireSign

          I did that commute for 5 years from LB to WeHo and back. If I needed to be in LB by 6 I would take off at 3:15-3:30 (you are right about missing that window!) because it took 45 minutes just to make it down La Cienega to the 405.
          It was ridiculous; I stuck it out until I was able to transfer closer a couple years ago. My schedule was 10-7; stopping at the store or if there was an accident? I would’t be home until 8:30-9. Then I would pretty much go to bed and head out about 8:15-8:30 in the morning. It is a brutal commute.
          I go visit my guy up that way once a week now and I marvel that I did that commute 5 days a week for 5 years. Unfortunately, for that area and the commute you are doing 1.5 is the norm. I did take the bus up and back once when my car was in the shop. It took over two hours both ways.
          Best of luck in finding a solution!

        8. Onyx

          I live in LB too! I am fortunate enough to also work in LB, but I had the soul-sucking 1.5 hour each way commute when I lived in the Chicagoland area so I feel you. Now I live 6 miles away from the office and have a 25-minute drive (on side streets only).

          I second the comments about working LB, Signal Hill or Orange County. Alternately, you could do the South Bay (San Pedro/Palos Verde/Torrence/Manhattan Beach). If you have a choice, I wouldn’t work further north than El Segundo if you want to stay in LB.

      2. Secretary

        Yeah I agree that that’s a SoCal thing. I’m in Northern California in the Bay Area and 30 miles would be maaaaaybe an hour in rush hour.

        1. SDSmith2018

          Not entirely true- it depends on where in the Bay Area- and if you can afford to be 30 min away- I was in Solano County- and wages are on the low side- it would have made more financial sense for me to look in Contra Costa- but that commute was 45-90 minutes one way depending on the way the Traffic flowed (and I wouldn’t have made nearly enough to move to Co-Co county).

          We actually moved to San Diego instead where on really bad days my 15 mile commute home takes about 30-45 minutes- (except the two days that involved freeway shut downs). Housing is actually cheaper than it was even in Solano County (for what we have/where we are). The Bay Area is quickly approaching LA levels traffic wise- unless you are in an area with BART access.

          1. Bay Area denizen

            Thoroughly agreed. Palo Alto to Berkeley during off-hours takes about 45 minutes. During rush hour, it took about 1.5 hours — ten years ago. Today, it’s more like 2.5.

            Due to the fragmented nature of public transit in the Bay Area, and the fact that Caltrain runs only once an hour, and the “last mile” issue, public transit is not much better and indeed could be worse.

          2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            This makes me so sad. I grew up in CoCoCounty (fam is still there), and so much of the County was working class that I never really thought of it as unaffordable until the last 10-15 years or so.

          3. Nesprin

            Yep- bay area can be really really bad. The freeway systems are less well planned than LA/OC/SD and require many many more lane changes. LA has too many cars but otherwise decent systems. I got stuck in palo alto on eastshore highway at 5pm once and spent an hour to go 5 mi.

        2. LBJ

          Yeah that isn’t everywhere. I’m Bay Area and peninsula to city (or peninsula to SJC) is easily 1o miles and 90 minutes.

          1. SDSmith2018

            I remember that nonsense too- Before I relocated from West San Jose to Solano County 10 years ago (before this latest boom)- i had to leave my house for my 8 mile commute between 6:04-6:08am- if i missed that window (and yes, it really was that specific) my commute went from 30 minutes on the 880 towards Tremble in Santa Clara to 60-75 minutes. Getting off and going home had no lucky 5 minute window. It always took at least 45-60 minutes.

            San Diego is still not that bad- like several have said- employers here are starting to get better about flexible start/end times to stagger traffic. The worst days we’ve encountered in 8 months were 2 separate days where it took me two hours- and that was literally when a water main break (and a gas pipe leak) caused multiple freeway shut downs that made everyone get stuck.

        3. teclatrans

          Noooo. Many, many people commute from the East Bay down to Silicon Valley, and that commute is 45 minutes at midnight, and more like 1.5 or even 2 hours in bad traffic. My husband did that commute for nearly a decade, and he was far from the only one (as demonstrated by..all that traffic).

        4. zora

          30 miles where? Bay Area commutes can be awful, too, depending on where you’re going. From my house to my work is only 10 miles, but it can easily take an hour by car in rush hour.

          The Bay Area is another place, like LA, where you really have to limit your geographical options when looking for jobs. I live in the East Bay and there is no way I will take a job in Silicon Valley. My bf lives in SF, and has been commuting to Mountain View, and it can easily take him 2 hours by car if traffic is bad. Train is less stressful, but can be up to 2.5 hours if he misses a bullet train.

          DC area is another one where new arrivals should really get local info about traffic before committing to a job and/or housing.

          1. Mrs. Coach Taylor

            Another Bay Area person here!

            I live in Bernal Heights and work in San Mateo (13 miles door to door) and it’s usually 35 minutes in the morning and 50-70 minutes in the afternoon, which somehow still boggles my mind every time I sit in it.

            I have co-workers who live in Freemont, South San Jose, Marin and La Honda and their commutes are so brutal that I would have quit a long time ago if I’d had to do that.

            1. Judge Crater

              Mrs. Coach Taylor – Wait, I live in Bernal Heights and work in San Mateo!

              My times are similar – maybe a little shorter in the PM coming from near the 101/92 interchange.

              However I do have a lot of flexibility about WFH and hours (lots of early morning calls), so it all works pretty well for me.

            2. As Close As Breakfast

              Oh man. I used to commute from Berkeley to Fremont, which wasn’t so bad because of flexibility in my schedule. But some of the people that worked with me commuted from freaking Fairfield! It was a cost of living/housing/real estate thing at the time. This was about 10 years ago and I couldn’t wrap my mind around their commutes then, I shudder to think what that’d be like today.

          2. Anon for this

            I live AND work in Redwood City (also SF Bay Area) and it takes me 20 minutes. A commute of 40-45 minutes per day is good for this area.

        5. Starbuck

          When I worked (and lived, lucky me) in Fremont CA, pretty much everyone else that I knew who worked there had a totally garbage commute because housing there is so ridiculous. This one lady lived down in San Jose- not too far, but right down the dreaded 880. Someone else commuted down from Alameda (again, along the H8-80, as she called it). But hands down the worst was the guy who commuted all the way from Tracy, nearly 50 miles away. He had to take the 580 through the mountains to get to Fremont, which is a total bottleneck so it always sucked. Seemed like the south-east end of the Bay was especially bad since transit there is not so good unless you’re north along the BART, and of course housing just gets more expensive that way.

        6. Little Bean

          Uh, it totally depends on what your commute is the Bay Area too. My commute to work is about 9 miles and usually takes about 40-50 minutes, but can easily be over an hour on a bad day. My partner has to go nearly 3 times farther than me but his commute is shorter, because he goes reverse traffic.

      3. Lch

        I lived in hollywood, worked in Brentwood. About 11 mi. 30-45 on a good day. Could easily be an hour. 2 on bad days. Taking either Sunset or 101 to 405 because of that interchange. Always awful unless I did seriously shifted hours. Viva 35 mph on a freeway :(

      4. Pickle

        Yes, exactly! So first of all, OP, you should not feel bad at all about having not realized how rough this would be. Nobody really understands LA traffic patterns until you’ve been living here for awhile. Right now my partner leaves for work at 5am so that he can beat traffic, which is kind of miserable but at least he has the ability to work flexible hours so he can do it.

        It might be ‘normal’ for some people, but that doesn’t mean accepting it is your only option. We’re house hunting right now and have been reasonably able to prioritize finding a commute that is max 30 minutes for him, 45 for me in traffic, and I work in Koreatown while he works in Glendale. I love LA and I would not love it if I had to spend four hours in the car every day. If you give more specifics about where you’re at I might be able to recommend areas that make sense to job hunt!

        1. teclatrans

          Yes, this. There are so many freeways, and so many work areas nowhere near a freeway. Some traffic corridors move and some are parking lots (probably based on whether there are lots of viable alternate routes).

          OP, have you had bad experiences on LA transit that have led you to this anti-transit stance, or are you making assumptions? If the latter, I would like to gently urge you to consider reconsidering, or at least experimenting to see if reality aligns with your expectations.

          1. Original poster!

            Not in LA, but I was held at gun point by a group of teens in Bushwick near a train stop walking home 2 years ago (if you google it a few reports will come up) and I still have slight PTSD from that. I know it’s not entirely the same but I avoid situations where I potentially could be harmed… I know it’s somewhat over the top. But some mornings I even freak out and ask my boyfriend to escort me to my car in the morning (445-5 am) if I had to park further away since we live near a dark park. I know it’s somewhat stupid but yeah.

            1. Sal

              Mmm, I’ve been exposed to a fair amount of crime (professionally, not as a perp or victim, thankfully). Your response seems fairly normal (and not at all stupid!) to me.

            2. designbot

              It’s not over the top. Your feelings are valid and even normal for what you’ve been through. I got mugged years ago walking home from the train, and it’s taken me years not to be afraid of walking alone in the dark. It’s really hard not to see the possibilities lurking around every corner. I remember how I felt about it two years after and can promise that compared to then I feel a lot more confident and comforable now (~5 years out). I hope that will be the case for you too.

            3. AJ

              I don’t have personal experience with it, but I have heard that EMDR therapy can work well for PTSD.

            4. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

              It’s absolutely not stupid! And it wouldn’t be stupid even if you *hadn’t* had that experience. Only you know what you are able to deal with, and it’s ok if you don’t want to do it.

              Many (MANY) years ago, when I was a teenager, I was walking with some friends looking for a party, and we turned right when we should have turned left. We ended up being held at gunpoint by gang members who thought it was funny to mess with the freaky looking punk rockers. And while it was scary as hell, we were all so drunk at the time we weren’t nearly as terrified as we should have been. They let us go when they got bored, without any harm, but it’s an experience I will NEVER forget.

      5. poptart

        Yeah, LA you have to be pretty particular about where you live vs where you work. I live in North Hollywood and I have had jobs in both Brentwood and Venice, which was a 2 hour commute each way, and decided oh, NOT WORTH IT! Even working in Hollywood was about 35-60 minutes depending on how bad the traffic was on any particular day, or if say, a house on a trailer was left on the side of the 101 for three months and the city couldn’t figure out what to do with it. My current commute is 14 miles and takes 16 minutes because I work in Sunland, where no one goes ever, so no traffic. Anyway! All this to say, the options really are moving closer to your work, or finding a new job closer to where you live.

      6. MsChanandlerBong

        My company is headquartered in Pasadena. One of my coworkers lives in Simi Valley and commutes to Pasadena daily. It often takes him two hours due to the traffic. I am so thankful that I work from home.

        1. Pickle

          This thread has really brought home for me that nobody would live in this deranged city if it weren’t for the weather :D

          1. Paloma Pigeon

            And it contributes to the insane housing prices.

            LA math: 4 blocks closer = $100K more -30 minutes of your life back every day x 365 = sanity-debt

            1. Pickle

              As someone who just put an offer at $80,000 over asking on house that would be 5 mins from my partner’s work, I feel personally attacked, yet so validated, by this equation.

                1. Pickle

                  Haha sorry, I meant the “personally attacked” part as a joke. It’s become a phrase to mean “I relate too hard” in some corners of the internet. I took it as commiseration :)

          2. Partly Cloudy

            The weather in LA is not that great; San Diego’s is much better IMO. And the smog in LA is disgusting. The traffic-related info and anecdotes in this thread make me wonder why any sane human would ever want to live there.

            I grew up in NJ and live in south Florida now, FWIW.

            1. Jenna

              San Diego is very nice weather and they are working on their transit system. It is already better than Orange County(by far) and seems about as mobile and easy as Los Angeles, but with more trolleys and light rail, rather than subways and light rail like LA. I have TAP cards for both LA and San Diego, and I live in Orange County.
              I have friends up in Tarzana, and I’ve grown to prefer taking the Amtrak or metrolink to union station, and then the redline to north Hollywood and the orange line busway to Reseda. On weekends it’s only $10.00 for a metrolink day pass that gets me all the way there and back on metrolink trains and also the metro in Los Angeles. The Amtrak trains sometimes have the more convenient schedules, charging outlets, and fewer stops, but they cost a bit more.
              Groundwork cafe at the north Hollywood intersection of the redline and orange line has glorious gluten free baked goods(I’m celiac, so I live by my map of places that I can eat).

          3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            It’s why I came back the one time I moved away. Not quite three years and I missed warm sunny days more than I ever thought would be possible. I won’t leave SoCal again til I shuffle off this mortal coil.

        2. MJChomper

          I have a friend, God bless her, who lived in Running Springs and worked in Woodland Hills. Google that – it hurt me just to hear her talk about it.

          She thought she was lucky because she only worked 4 days a week. OMG. That would be my version of Hell on earth.

          And I’d complain about my commute from West Hollywood (On Palm @ Santa Monica Blvd) to Beverly Hills (Doheny @ Wilshire). Lolol. I’d bitch about all
          14 minutes of it. I wish I knew how good I had it back then!

      7. Michaela Westen

        If you do move, give some thought to what would happen if traffic gets worse or patterns change, especially if you’re buying property and couldn’t move again easily.
        I remember in 1999 one of my colleagues saying her commute time had doubled even though she lived and worked in the same places. It was because traffic had gotten that much worse.

        1. teclatrans

          I left LA in 1998, and when I visited a few years later, was horrified to discover that rush hour traffic was still going strong at 10pm. I think LA is just so far past vehicle capacity at this point.

        2. Original Poster!

          That’s actually a huge thing for me on why I do not want to move. My bf and I have been talking about buying his father’s house in OC (and I love OC and love living in a suburban area after growing up in a big city, and living in big cities all my life and now living in a very residential area). It just doesn’t make sense for me to move closer to LA at all.

          1. Judge Crater

            A friend of mine works in Irvine and commutes from LB. Think that commute is under an hour. Might be a city for you to target in your job search.

          2. Jenna

            Where in OC? OC is kinda huge, and the traffic and transit availability varies enormously. Fullerton, Anaheim, Irvine and Santa Ana have Amtrak and metrolink as well as freeways. Brea, Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills just have freeways. La Habra and Whittier are pretty far from the freeways. I don’t know south OC as well, but it’s definitely a longer commute to LA.

            1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

              The 5 and the 91 both run through OC, so there is freeway access from, hmm- La Palma, Buena Park, Fullerton, Anaheim, Yorba Linda, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, Irvine…past that I’m not familiar as with.
              Then there are the 55, the 57, the 22, the 405 freeways as well.

      8. IT is not EZ

        I commuted from Diamond Bar to Burbank. 2 1/2 hours each way while I was working a 9-5 job. When I switched schedules to a 5am – 1:30pm shift, my commute was a much more palatable 45 mins. I ended up moving to a condo 10 miles away, and my commute became a glorious 20 minutes.

        I hated the long drives, but when you have 3 million people going to the same place at the same time, what else can you do ?

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          You move closer to your work, or work closer to your house. That’s how I did it. More than 25 minutes in the car each way would drive me mad before the first week was out.

      9. H.C.

        Oh, I miss that reverse traffic flow commute – where it only took me 20 minutes to go 15 miles; verus the 45+ minutes now to go 12 miles.

      10. seejay

        yep, same with here in the Bay area. If you want to live somewhere affordable and work in the city, you’re going to have to commute 1 to 2 hours away. If you’re lucky and manage to live downtown (because you get paid enough / have rent control and moved in before rent costs skyrocketed) and have a job downtown, you can estimate 30 to 40 minutes, depending on how you get to work. But if you live outside the downtown core, you’re looking at a minimum of an hour. And you probably don’t want to be driving since the parking costs downtown are redonk.

        I live in the city and work in the FiDi and biked to work… on a good day, depending on traffic and lights, I could be from my front door to the office in 10 minutes. Bad day is about 15. Walking (due to rain or bike injury) takes me about 20-25 minutes. But I pay for that convenience.

      11. ItsCuckooBananas

        I live in the OC near Chapman Uni and my office was in the Union Bank building on Figueroa Street and yes, 2 hours was totally normal. I was excited if it “only” took 1.5 hrs. AND, it didn’t matter what mode of transportation I took; train to Union Station to Metro with a 1/2 mile walk to the office took the same 2 hours as driving and parking a few blocks away (because it was about $40 in my building).

    3. JHunz

      I’m with you, city rush hour traffic is pretty much the absolute worst kind of driving. My current commute is about an hour but most of it is by train.

    4. Elfine Starkadder

      I live right in the heart of Los Angeles. My office is six miles from my home. By car it still takes an average of 35-45 minutes. By bus (three buses total) it takes an hour. We’re not even talking about using any freeways here — that would be even longer. My office mate commutes from about 30 miles away and it takes her almost two hours. Alas, Los Angeles is like this nowadays. Freeways and surface streets weren’t designed for the volume of vehicles on the road. I’m sorry. At least it’s sunny most of the time.

        1. teclatrans

          I know someone who used to bike from Venice to Union Station, then take light rail up to South Pasadena. This made the commute a reliable 45 minutes, whereas driving probably would have taken 1-1.5 hours (and these days would probably be closer to 2 hours).

        2. Elfine Starkadder

          There’s only one route to bike from the Miracle Mile to UCLA, along Wilshire Blvd. in the bus lane. Not worth getting killed. :-) Besides, I commute with my husband and we keep each other company during the drive. On his work-at-home days I really like the bus.

    5. Hobgoblin

      I’m currently at my shortest commute- 15 minutes from inside my condo to inside my office. My longest was 2 hours one way but I worked 24 hour shifts 8 times a month so it not as awful as it could have been. I read a study in the last few months that said 40 minutes is the tipping point where a commute starts to affect your mental health and it made a lot of sense.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

        I believe it. 20-25 minute drive was the max I’ve ever done and that was my hard limit. More than that would be un-doable for me. I couldn’t take it mentally OR physically.

    6. CMFDF

      My commute is 20 minutes IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC, and a small part of me wants my mom to sell us her house* so my commute is a “more reasonable” 5 minutes if I get the traffic light.

      *I don’t actually want to move, I just want to sleep in a little longer every morning.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

        I used to have a seasonal job at a nearby amusement park and from getting in my car to parking in the lot took between 2 and 3 minutes. BEST COMMUTE EVER!

    7. A.

      I have a ten minute commute. It is wonderful. Door to door including the walk from my parking 15 minutes. At my last job, I had also had a ten minute commute on foot. I could not commute an hour each way every day. I would need to work out some telework days, move closer or find a new job!

    8. CaliCali

      OK, I realize this is coming at the end of a loooong thread, but this all simultaneously made me weirdly homesick (Bay Area native) AND thinking about The Californians sketch on SNL and how true it is

    9. Specialk9

      Mine is 35 minutes. I’ve had an hour commute on the train before. That’s my absolute limit.

      A 2 hour commute is a reason to move. Your boyfriend can move to you this time.

    10. Kitty

      Totally agree. Mine is 35-45 minutes by public transport, and that’s about my limit. Any longer and I would start to really resent it cutting into my free time so much. Also agree that driving would make it much less bearable.

      My best commute ever was when I lived in the same suburb as my workplace and walked 10 minutes door to door. I miss it.

  2. The Cosmic Avenger

    Yeah, from what I hear it’s normal for that area, but I’ve never had a commute anywhere near that long on the East Coast. I think the longest commute I have ever had was 45 minutes to an hour (once driving and once by subway).

    1. The Cosmic Avenger

      And now that I have a 20-25 minute commute 3 days a week (telework two days a week), I don’t think I could go back.

      1. Jesca

        Yeah once I had stopped an hour commute, I shudder thinking about ever having to do that again.

        But yeah, I know a woman who lives in LA and has a 1 to 2 hour commute every day. She calls friends. You would think they would make a more robust commuter system there, but then again, I am not totally sold on how well we can manage train systems in this country either …

        1. teclatrans

          They built a whole light rail system, actually. But LA is just so sprawling, and laid out in such an anarchic fasion, I can’t imagine a transit system that could resolve these issues (at least in our profit-driven society).

          I think it is very hard to understand LA geography without spending some time driving there (and you can spend decades there without seeing or interacting with 2/3 of it, depending on the corridors you frequent).

          1. Jenna

            I live in OC, and yes, you see completely different realities if you drive rather than take transit, if you go to Los Angeles by car and park, or if you use the trains and subway. The time of day changes whether a neighborhood or block is busy or echoingly empty, whether the subway is packed with commuters, sports fans, tourists, or concert goers, or if it’s spooky with just you and some person that could be coming back from a casting call for vampires.

    2. ExcelJedi

      Commuters into NYC from NJ could have a 1.5-2 hour commute (I have), but it’s usually all on public transit, so you at least get that time to read/sleep/whatever. I couldn’t imagine having that kind of commute without public transit. It would be completely intolerable.

      1. AMT

        Also a New Yorker. I’d say the job I had with a 20-minute car commute and the one with the 45-minute bus ride were about at the same stress level. That would make OP’s 2-hour car ride the equivalent of a 4+ hour bus ride. NOPE NOPE NOPE.

        1. ExcelJedi

          That’s probably a personal preference thing.

          I find driving FAR more stressful than the trains, and would probably take a one-hour train ride where I feel like my time is my own over dealing with NJ drivers for 20 minutes. If it were by bus I might not feel the same way, but I’ve never had to deal with that.

      2. Jesca

        Yeah, I never minded the train rides from NJ to New York. It is the traffic when driving that makes it stressful.

        Traffic where I live is rough. My commute to work takes about 30 minutes but going home takes about 45. That is going 11 miles. It is pretty crappy considering right out side this densely populated area, driving is a breeze – all either very rural or highway. I drove 26 miles to my last job, and it took me roughly 35 minutes both ways. It is easier going north and south than east and west here, and it is the traffic that is what is the stressful part. I don’t mind driving 35 to 40 minutes for work, but I absolutely hate SITTING in traffic for that amount of time.

        1. pleaset

          On the plus side for people in LA, the NYC subways (and also Long Island Railroad) are deteriorating in such a rapid way that although a person might normally have, say, a 45-minute commute, about once a week it’ll be 90+ minutes. And once every few months several hours. So NYC has that fun going for it.

          1. Frank Doyle

            How does things getting shittier in NYC make living in LA more tolerable? Oh I guess you mean if you have columns of “LA vs NYC,” not “Pros and Cons.”

      3. Adlib

        I recently visited NYC for the first time and left on a Monday morning to fly out of Newark. I’ve only ever lived/worked in the Midwest. I was astonished at the traffic inbound. I knew it was bad, but to witness it, wow.

      4. NewWorkingMama

        I used to commute from Jersey City to Western NJ (about an hour on insane roads) and once I moved to CT my commute went down to about 5 minutes. I didn’t realize how toxic that crazy commute was until it was gone. Now I’m back to an hour commute with daycare, but it’s not nearly as bad. It all depends on the roads

      5. Church Lady

        It is. Intolerable. I moved northeast from my job in Fairfield county, CT and went from 20 mins each way to at least an hour, sometimes 90 mins. each way. Two to three hours. Every. Day. Unfortunately my job is not close to train station so I’m stuck behind the wheel, and flex time is not an option. I am job-hunting closer to home.

        1. NewWorkingMama

          I live in SW CT so the only reason my drive is doable is because I stay off (and away from) 95. I still feel like I’m going to die every time I drive anywhere on 95 at any time down here.

      6. Political staffer

        Last year, I took a position where I had to commute from my parents’ house in Westchester to eastern LI (driving– 63 miles each way). I took the position with the long commute thinking that my stint there would advance my career.

        Ended up being a big mistake. The commute was very bad for my physical and mental health, not to mention very expensive (maxing out an EZ-Pass twice). I turned into a zombie and that negatively affected my job performance. Never again.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          Yeah, not only would a drive like that mess with my mental health, I would not be able to take it physically either. Not when I was in my best shape ever (which was pretty darn good) and certainly not now.

    3. Church Lady

      East Coast here: I drive 24 miles each way in Fairfield Cty, CT during rush hour. On average each way is an hour due to congestion or accidents on I-95. Some days it’s longer. Thursday and Friday afternoons going northbound (away from NYC ) is the worst. I figured out why I was too tired to go to the gym after work; I spend two to three hours a day behind the wheel. And it’s been getting progressively worse. My brother lives in northern VA suburbs and I dread the traffic on the Outer Loop around DC. I hear Atlanta is even worse.

    4. LKW

      On the East Coast you get commutes like that between CT and NY -northern CT. New York to Philadelphia (1.5 hours by train) or DC and Northern Virginia/ Maryland. Boston commutes are about 1 hour and many commute between Massachusetts and Providence up to an hour.

      1. NewWorkingMama

        And good luck living near one of the train stations and not paying at least $3000 a month in rent for a 1 bedroom.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          O_O
          I live in Southern California in a large 5 bed, 2 bath house with a HUGE backyard, and our rent is only $2200 a month!

          1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            Also it is RIGHT at the juncture of two major freeways, and minutes from a bus/train depot.

    5. T3k

      I’m on the east coast and one of my previous jobs was a minimum 45 min. drive (one way). And on the way back, oh boy, it was at least an hour and 15 mins. if I was lucky and there wasn’t an accident on the road. It was part of the reason I ended up quitting that job. All my other commutes have been around 30 mins.

    6. bostoncommuter

      I have a 2 hour commute into Boston; I live in Providence. About 70 minutes of that is on the commuter rail though, and the rest of it is getting to Providence Station and getting from Boston South Station to my workplace via the Red Line. It’s not my favorite thing in the world but I’m willing to do it for family reasons, and given how many people I see taking the train with me I know I’m not the only one!

      1. Bostonian

        Dear MBTA: Why does it take me an hour to get to Cambridge from a southern neighborhood in Boston, and this person from Providence can get there in 2 hours?

    7. BusyBee

      I live in the Philly burbs and commute via public transit into Center City. Door to door it’s 1.5 hours each way, but as other said, at least I can read and listen to music on the train.

    8. NYCJessa

      I have 45-60 minutes subway/walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan and I would just like to thank the Original Poster for reminding me that I really don’t have it that bad, even though I was cursing out the MTA in my head this morning lol.

    9. Overeducated

      I work in DC and commute from less than 8 miles away. It takes me an hour on a bike to public transit. Short commutes on the east coast are for people who can afford to live close to work….

  3. Cheeky

    As a Californian…2 hours each way is normal for LA. It really is. That’s why people consider dating people who live on opposite ends of LA to be long-distance relationships. I have lived in LA and currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a commute like that is normal here too. I’m sorry!

    1. einahpets

      I live in San Diego county and it isn’t quite as bad — a lot of folks (myself included) have hour long commutes, even with flexible hours (I do 7-4). But it is getting worse.

      Audiobooks keep my sanity. Although the one I was listening to this morning had a character who died and it took me a few moments to compose myself before going in to the office, heh.

      1. with a twist

        I’ve had a long-ish commute (45min to 1 hr) for years and finally discovered the joy of audiobooks about 6 months ago (as a lifelong bibliophile, I don’t know what took me so long). It’s been life-changing. I actually kind of enjoy my commute now instead of dreading it every day!

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          I love reading, but I have a really difficult time keeping my focused on audiobooks or podcasts or any kind of talking that I need to pay close attention to, and if I’m driving I can’t follow it at all. Music is a different matter, because I won’t lose the plot if my mind drifts away for a bit.

    2. Mystery Bookworm

      Although for what it’s worth, I’m a CA native who’s lived in both SF and LA (and is now a London resident – another city for crazy commutes!) one hour is my limit for commuting and I managed to make that work (although with a fair amount of compromise along the way). I know other people who’ve done the same, and not all uber-rich techies or bankers, either. But yeah, two hours isn’t unheard of for any of those cities.

      That said, how normal or common something is isn’t always relevant to whether it works for you!

      1. Cheeky

        Agreed. I would find 2 hours each untenable, and that’s okay! But sadly, it’s the norm for a lot of people in the metro areas.

    3. Muriel Heslop

      This is explains why the traffic that makes us crazy here in Texas is seen as “a breeze” to all of the people moving here from California. Definitely not normal here!

      1. einahpets

        Heh. I have a sister who lives in rural Washington state, and one morning while I was visiting, she warned that we’d be stuck in traffic to go to the restaurant she had in mind.

        The traffic was… two red stoplights. And what would be 3am traffic here in SD on the freeways. I was like — we do not have the same idea of what the word traffic means anymore.

        1. Bea

          She doesnt visit the coast much I see, lol. It takes 10 plus minutes to get off my hill which is a mile on some days.

          1. einahpets

            Yeah — my other sister lives in Issaquah, and I hear the traffic is getting just as bad as it is where I’m at now.

            1. palomar

              Yuuuuuup. My employer’s local office is in Seattle, and I used to live within walking distance. But once I had to move out of the city (and out of King County entirely) to find affordable housing, my commute shot up to about 90 minutes on a good day, 2+ hours if there was weather or any accidents. Luckily I was able to convert to remote worker status and avoid the whole mess entirely.

              1. Epiphyta

                Hey, fellow Washingtonians! Spouse and I were in Bellevue before giving up and fleeing King County, and thoughts of 405 at rush hour, to and from Everett when one of us needed to catch the train north in the morning, still sends me into a cold sweat . . . .

        2. ErinW

          Ha ha. My parents are the same way–small city folk who come to visit in my mid-size city and are like, “Do we HAVE to drive downtown?” And when I’m home they encourage me not to go places during “rush hour,” which equals just steady, moving traffic. They also refuse to go to restaurants on like, Saturday nights, because they expect to wait hours for a table. (?)

        3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          Ha! I moved to Washington state for a bit in the early 90s, and I remember driving into Seattle with some friends of mind who warned me that we’d be hitting rush hour traffic.
          There was no traffic. Or at least, not by SoCal standards! For us, it’d would have been a lightly populated freeway with swift-moving cars. I lol’d!

      2. WinStark

        I’m in DFW, and on off-peak hours, it’s 35 mins from home to work. Peak hours? 55-1 hour 15. stop and go. stop and go. I don’t know how people drive standards here… ;)

    4. Connie-Lynne

      What is ridiculous to me is that commuting 6 miles on SF MUNI trains regularly takes 75 -90 min.

      It’s the norm, and also unreasonable.

        1. LizB

          Yikes. I’m pretty sure I could walk three miles in an hour. (In a perfect world where there were adequate sidewalks, I was in good enough physical health, etc. etc. — not trying to say you should walk instead, just emphasizing how silly that time is!)

          1. Ama

            I had a 1.5 mile walking commute for a while that took about 20-25 minutes, so you aren’t wrong (although that was a relatively flat area of Manhattan — depending on how hilly we’re talking in San Francisco it might be worse).

        2. zora

          Seriously. My 10.5 mile commute from Oakland to SF is faster than the 4 mile commute on Muni from my bf’s place to my office. It’s insane.

      1. Taxonomy Enthusiast

        Once I figured that out, I started walking the 6 miles to work in San Francisco. It is a fantastic way to start the day, and you can skip the gym.

        1. Bridget

          Right, but then you have to walk HOME six miles, too. I’d love to do that walk in the morning, but maybe not so much in the afternoon!

      2. namelesscommentator

        MUNI IS THE WORST. I walk 1.5 miles to BART instead of taking the muni 4 blocks from my house. No regrets.

      3. The Cosmic Avenger

        WOW.

        Just…wow. I was going to say in my comment above, I didn’t mind an hour or even longer commute when I was on public transit and could read, but that would frustrate the…fudge out of me!

      4. Ulf

        How can that be? Serious question…I have never ridden light rail in San Francisco but have in a number of other cities, and I’m having trouble seeing how this is possible. Incredibly slow-moving trains? Incredibly poor condition of tracks? Incredibly long wait times before leaving stations?

        Inquiring minds want to know!

        1. Namelesscommentator

          Infrequent trains that are rarely on schedule, over-populated stops that take 2-3x as long waiting for people who don’t fit to step off. Inevitable 10-15 minute unexplained stop at Van Ness that seems to happen no matter what time (otherwise I’d say it’s explained by directing train traffic). And an above ground system in some places that limits train speed & number of cars.

        2. SL #2

          Muni is basically the worst. All 6 lines get funneled into the same underground stretch of tunnel through the Mission and into downtown, so if one train breaks down, all the others get bogged down as well, and there’s congestion in the tunnel just like there would be on a freeway.

        3. TaterTot

          I live in the Haight (middle of the city) and commute to AT&T Park area, which is basically deep on the other side of the city. There’s no bus/transit that does a straight line between home and work, so I either have to take one bus into downtown then switch to another to get to Soma, or take a bus downtown then walk 20 minutes. It would take me only 15 min longer to walk, which I should probably start doing! If I take a Lyft or drive I can get there in only half the time, but I don’t currently have a car, so for now it’s bus/walk/occasionally bike.

      5. Cheeky

        MUNI takes forever! And that’s weird because the city is only 7×7 square miles. Public transportation, except for BART (and even BART), is not fast in the Bay Area. I used to live in Santa Clara and commuted 11 miles to Mountain View- 55 minute drive.

    5. Reba

      Yeah, when we lived in LA our home was very strategically placed with regard to work and other places we went. So my only advice, which is pretty unhelpful, is think seriously about how long you might wanna be in this job and then, if it seems like a while, just move closer. (I know there’s not “just” about it.)

      Mercifully I did not have a highway commute, and you put together your little routes and tricks that make it more bearable for you. You listen to KCRW or podcasts and eventually adjust. In my job there I did a lot of driving to sites, which stressed me out but eventually I came to love, because I learned about different parts of the area, and our clients’ various secret tips and so on. None of these things actually make the commute shorter, but it keeps you going.

      It did make it exciting when we got together with friends on the other side of town! And now I am a champion road trip driver and change my sense of how far is “far” to go.

      1. Original Poster!

        Yeah, I honestly do not want to move into LA at all (I left NYC cause I was tired of the city struggle/high rents) and love where I live. I’m ready to take a pay cut in favor of a better work life balance… I pretty much made up my mind a day after sending in my letter that I am going to quit.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          LA is ok to visit, but I will never live there again. OC or LB for me!

      2. RVA Cat

        I’m wondering if the next step in the tiny house craze is to have people in places like this live in an RV full-time?

        1. Cheeky

          That’s already happening. I live in Silicon Valley. The median home price is $1.3 million dollars in my city. There are ever-growing RV encampments all over with people just trying to make ends meet.

          1. Epiphyta

            A friend posted earlier in the week that median prices in Seattle are now over $800,000. She will never be able to afford to buy, and it looks as if I’m now permanently out of King County.

        2. zora

          There was a guy who was caught living in the back of a box truck in the Google parking lot, because he couldn’t find an apartment with a decent commute.

          1. Bus Stuff

            Fun fact, I used to work with that guy at his previous job. Wicked smart, and saved a small fortune on rent! He was able to pay off his student loans quite ahead of schedule too which is a nice perk!

        3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          I lived in an RV for a few months. I don’t recommend it as a long term option.

    6. Natalie

      Everything I am finding in research gives somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes as the average commute for the area. That would make two hours not an impossibility, but certainly not typical.

      1. Engineer Girl

        Reearch isn’t reality. Traffic during the commute varies widely depending on time. Even a 15 minute shift makes the commute better or worse.

        Actual experience trumps book learning every time.

        1. Natalie

          When we’re discussing what’s “typical” or “usual”, one individual’s experience is essentially meaningless.

          1. Connie-Lynne

            Did the research note distance? Because I guarantee you that 30 min is not an average commute for 30 miles ANYWHERE in LA at rush hour.

            1. Natalie

              No, I’m sure the drive time for that distance is completely normal. I would imagine most people decline to work that far away from home precisely because it isn’t a sustainable commute, thus keeping the average commute lower. Obviously you’ll have outliers, including the OP at the moment.

              1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

                Hahaha what? More people here commute than don’t, even from places like Riverside to LA. The average commute keeps getting LONGER. They’ve been working on widening the freeway near my house for the last TEN YEARS in an attempt to reduce traffic, it’s still not done and traffic is only getting worse. If you’ve ever seen LA traffic in a movie or on the news, where the freeways look like parking lots, you are seeing the reality of it- some places look like that almost all day long!
                OP is far from an outlier, but it doesn’t mean she HAS to keep up a brutal drive like that.

          2. Engineer Girl

            Come on. The boyfriend grew up there and told OP how it was. It’s being confirmed here by all the people that live in CA.

            California traffic has long been the butt of jokes. There was even a Steve Martin movie that involved traffic signs. And I think the commute scene in the movie is hilariously semi-accurate.

            One single experience is not typical. But in this case there is wide spread collective knowledge that confirms the traffic.

            1. Natalie

              There’s tons of people here in the same area disagreeing that 2 hours one way is normal.

              I’m not sure what you think I’m suggesting, but just to be extra clear: I understand Southern California traffic is bananas. I’m sure 2 hours is a totally normal travel time for the distance the OP is driving. But there is tons of survey data (census and others) on *actual* people’s *actual* commutes indicating that 2 hours is not remotely typical, which is what the OP was asking about.

              1. Cheeky

                Typical and normal are two different things. Obviously there’s a lot of variability, but it is not at all abnormal for people to commute 2+ hours to and from work here. You don’t have to believe it, I guess, but it’s true.

                1. teclatrans

                  But the salient point here is that the OP is asking if she has to just suck it up because “*shrug*, that’s LA,” and so many of us are saying that while LA traffic is indeed ridiculous, there are better and worse commutes, and we are reassuring OP that people in LA do indeed make choices that allow them to have more manageable commutes within the terrible, horrible, no-good traffic.

              2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

                No, two hours *IS* pretty typical…we are telling her that it’s not MANDATORY.

              1. Christina

                “…did he say it’s the first day of spring?”
                “Yes, why?”
                “Oh shit. Get my gun!”
                “What?! Why?!
                “It’s open season on the LA Freeway!”

                (I can quote every line of this movie. Just try me.)

            2. Christina

              LA Story! That movie is amazing on so many levels (not least of which is the “open season on the LA Freeway” scene), everyone should watch it.

            3. Sketchee

              I feel that the underlying question the LW is asking – and the way Allison responded – is saying is this something that the LW has to accept for their personal situation. The answer to that question is no. Yes some people accept it and do it. As Allison said, it’s not unheard of. The LW is well within their reason to search for another job or another place to live. Even if the boyfriend or other people find it acceptable, they really don’t have to give up trying to find another solution.

          3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            I’ve lived in SoCal for 48 years, born & raised here. Traffic IS horrendous, and many, MANY people commute 2 or more hours to work. That’s WHY we have such horrible traffic!

            That said, in OC and some parts of LA county, it is entirely possible to work minutes away from your residence, or find alternate routes, or work non-peak traffic hours. It might take a little more effort to work it out, but it absolutely can be done. I’ve never worked more than a 20-25 drive away, and once had a commute that was 2-3 minutes! That doesn’t mean traffic here isn’t bad, it means I found ways to avoid it.

        2. LBK

          I don’t think Natalie is talking about theoretical calculation of commutes on Google Maps or something. I assume she’s referencing actual surveys of people asking them about the length of their commute, which is their actual experience.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        It’s more common/normal than folks think, though (this is the problem with averages—very short commutes and long commutes offset each other). And because public transit is sparse, the region broad, and the population dense, you have more cars on the road than the infrastructure can really handle.

        2 hours is sufficiently common to be considered normal in LA. If you want a shorter commute, you have to move closer to transit or to where the traffic patterns are more favorable.

        After living in a different part of Country California where my commute was 75-90 min each way, then New England where it was 25 min., I was not going to go back to a long commute. So i aggressively researched traffic patterns when I picked which neighborhoods to live in. That’s the kind of analysis you have to undertake to avoid a 2-hour commute in that part of SoCal.

      3. Original Poster!

        I think that’s what trapped me into taking the job. I did my research but they interviewed me Thursday, offer on Friday and first day Monday – they needed someone urgently and I wasn’t working – so there was no way for me to check the commute during rush hour. Everything that came up was “an hour, maybe an hour and 15” which would be tolerable for me. But man, 2 hours.. nope

        1. Evan Þ.

          As you’re looking for your next job, maybe try putting the commute into Google or Bing Maps with your normal leaving or arrival times? They offer typical traffic estimates.

    7. paul

      This is making me really glad my wife and I decided to avoid the Bay and Silicon Valley, between commutes and housing cost.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        The Bay has faster commutes than SoCal, in part because theres more commuter rails and there’s more carpooling and carpool incentives). Local transit (MUNI) is less reliable/more variable (although I loved being able to take AC Transit’s transbay bused—best commute, ever). LA is an entirely different level of traffic.

        1. Jadelyn

          Plus there are ferries if you’re coming from the east or north bay to the city. I’ve looked at a few jobs in SF specifically because I live in Vallejo, which has one of the ferry buildings, and it’s only an hour by ferry across.

        2. paul

          Our combined household income was about 60k; according to sperlings COL calculator it’d need to be about 150k to get the same QOL in SF. LA would only be about 100k, but F that. I’ve been to LA to visit family and really hated it.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Oh, I agree! Just wanted to make the distinction re: commute norms :)

        3. Cheeky

          True. But what counts as the “Bay Area” is also constantly expanding to include farther flung cities in the Central Valley, North Bay, and South Bay. I work in the East Bay, and people in my office commute from Tracy, Manteca, Stockton, Merced, Sacramento, Vallejo. Those are now considered “commutable” distances, even though those are far away.

          1. Bay Area denizen

            “Tracy, Manteca, Stockton, Merced, Sacramento, Vallejo. Those are now considered “commutable” distances, even though those are far away.”

            By whom? Certainly not me.

            1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

              OH my Dog! MERCED? When I was a kid my grandpa had a ranch in Mariposa, and Merced was the closest city (and it was a boondocks city back then!)

              That’s insanity!

          2. SF Legal Secretary

            One of my co-workers lives in Stockton. He drives, takes a bus to Dublin and takes BART from there. His commute is 2 hours +.

          3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            Some of those areas are now considered commutable, but they’re not considered to be part of the Bay Area proper. Tracy/Manteca/Stockton are solidly San Joaquin Valley, and a commute from anywhere south of Ceres (including Merced) is not considered commutable by most folks. Sacramento is its own metro area and is solidly Central Valley/Sacramento Valley, but there’s also the Amtrak, which can make the commute less miserable than driving.

            Vallejo has always been part of the Bay Area.

            The nine Bay Area counties have always been Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco. The only difference I’ve seen is the urbanization of the formerly “rural” parts of those counties (e.g., Gilroy, Antioch/Oakley, Livermore, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Vacaville) and an expanding commute pattern.

          4. Coach

            I’m from Sunnyvale and I go to college in Merced. No chance I would drive that every day. If I’m going back for the weekend, I have to leave before 2 pm or after 8 pm, otherwise there’s tons of traffic in Modesto all the way down to San Jose. Luckily for me, when I am in Sunnyvale, my commute is only 10 minutes door to door.

    8. Engineer Girl

      I also agree with this.

      Unfortunately, the OP chose to ignore the data that was given about the job. OP needs to move closer to the job. Which probably means a higher rent.

      Audiobooks are common. I found a radio station with bible studies, so I listened to that. Car pool to share the annoyance of the road.

      1. Original Poster!

        Yeah, I already made up my mind I’m leaving. I absolutely don’t want to live where I work, not just bc of rent but also bc I am at the point in my life where I do not want to live that city struggle life… new gig it is.I was in my last job for 5+ years so I’m not worried about looking like a jumper or anything. But you are right, I definitely ignored the “oh man, you’re gonna drive THERE? from where you live? oof..”s that I got about once a day for my first month.

    9. Kathleen_A

      I am also a native Southern Californian, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say 2 hours is completely “normal,” it is not at *all* unusual.

      But I will say that routinely taking 2 hours to go only 30 miles is unusual – sometimes, sure, but 4 days out of 5 is…kind of whacked. Most people who have those really long commutes are traveling farther than you, or so it seems to me. I do think it’s possible that if you do some research before you relocate, you can find something 30 miles away that will give you a better commute time.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

        I lived in Hollywood nearly 30 years ago, and would often visit my parents in OC. If I hit traffic at the wrong time, it could take me 1.5-2 hrs to make what was normally a 25-30 minute drive. In 1990.

    10. LBK

      I know this is kinda tangential to the question, but I just don’t understand how this happens and how it’s so consistently bad. Everyone highway has traffic – other cars being on the road doesn’t mean everyone has to drive slowly. Are there poorly placed stops right after the off ramps that jam them up? Tons of accidents that cause lane closures and rubbernecking? It’s baffling to me, even coming from Boston where 93 is notoriously slow.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Our population has outpaced transit infrastructure loading, LA did not invest in public transit earlier, and there’s an effective moratorium on building more freeways on the west side and in City of LA (and its adjoining communities). LA is currently investing in more public transit, now, but it will take years before it comes online. Accidents certainly add to it, but there’s honestly so much traffic that their effect is marginal unless the accident is blocking the only transit artery for that area (areas bit farther out from central LA).

        1. browneyedgirl

          I bet you ten bucks they live in the valley, work on the other side of the mountains, and have to take the 405.

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            It sounds like OP is out by Montebello Gardens or Monterey Park and driving through or into DTLA, Burbank, Pasadena or the west side. The 2 hours doesn’t surprise me at all.

        2. LBK

          I guess my question is more about the general idea of how adding more cars = going slower. I struggle with understanding why more people on the road means everyone drives slower. 1000 cars can go 60 mph just as well as 10 cars as long as they’re all going the same speed. What is it that slows people down?

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            It’s the sheer number of cars in the road. It’s a parking lot because there’s too many cars taking up physical space for there to even be room to drive at the limit. Folks drive at the limit or (more often) 10-15 miles over limit when there’s room to do so.

            1. JM60

              In theory, you can have densely packed cars drive. The problem in practice is human drivers. Human drivers lack the coordination and have too high reaction time to pull this off, so things inefficiently grind to a halt of roads.

              I recommend cgpgrey’s video on traffic.

              1. LBK

                Yeah, I think this is the disconnect for me – in theory, you could pack in the cars all driving 1 foot apart at 60 mph just fine and everyone would get there in the same time as if they were alone on the road, but humans will never drive like that.

                1. FoxyDog

                  That works until one person taps the brakes, causing a cascade effect of everyone behind them tapping the brakes…and suddenly traffic is stopped for no reason.

                2. JM60

                  Self driving cars might be able to do it though. In my lifetime, it may actually make sense to ban humans from driving due to computers driving much more safely and efficiently.

          2. Short & Dumpy

            If you’re having trouble visualizing this, check out the old Mythbusters episode where they tested it. Google “Mythbusters can a traffic jam form from a driver tapping their brakes”. (Spoiler, the answer is yes…not that anyone who has driven on congested hwys didn’t already know this)

            1. Jadelyn

              I am borderline fanatical about not touching my brakes on the freeway for this exact reason. Gods bless manual transmissions, I can usually avoid it unless it’s very sudden deceleration.

              I wanna go watch that episode now though, I never saw it when it was on.

          3. jj

            I didn’t understand traffic until I moved to Los Angeles for a few years after college — it was the first time I saw with my own eyes how there could be too many cars on the road. It’s like when you’re filling up a container with liquid using a funnel — if you pour too fast, it’ll overflow, even if there is still room in the container. Or how a crowd moves at the end of a sporting event when every person is trying to get out of the stadium at the same time — there’s just nowhere to go.

          4. mediumofballpoint

            If you’re interested in the topic, there’s a fantastic book called Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt. You’d think a book about traffic would be as boring as traffic is, but everyone I’ve recommended it to has found it really interesting.

          5. Paloma Pigeon

            I would also argue it’s merging/splitting of freeways that brings 8 lanes to 2 for a mile stretch, and the consequent lane changes that can cause accidents. I would also make the argument that the significant amount of truck traffic driven from the port adds a considerable amount – they have to go slower in traffic since it takes them longer to stop. On some freeways it’s almost all trucks and it makes a difference.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              Yes! The lane changes are especially frustrating and bottlenecking, especially when you’ve got lots of trucks on the road (e.g., the I-5/110 junction).

          6. Dr Wizard, PhD

            I actually had a lecture about this in college.

            Say you have a line of 10 cars and the first car has to stop very briefly for some reason. Any reason. Then we start up again. Because reaction time and stopping distance is a thing, the following happens:

            Car A starts moving – 2 seconds later Car B starts – 2 seconds after *that* Car C starts … so car number ten has a 20 second total delay. So one car stopping for a moment has just caused a 20 second delay with only ten cars.

            Now let’s imagine 1000 cars: the delay for the last car 2000 seconds if there’s any stoppage whatsoever. That’s just over 33 minutes.

            Repeat. It’s terrifying how easily delays can whipcrack along a chain of traffic.

      2. browneyedgirl

        I actually lived in Boston and LA so am qualified to answer. I assume the writer lives in the valley and works on the ocean side which means there’s only one way through the mountains… the 405, aka the busiest highway in the country. (I mean, you can also take the Sepulveda pass but nobody does). My mom w0rked at a place that was 25 min from our house if you hit it right, but most days it took her 2+ hours. She once got caught in the pass and it took her 6 hours.

      3. Cheeky

        It really boils down to population density and job density. Silicon Valley, for example, has tons of jobs, but not enough housing, so people commute from all over, packing the roadways.

      4. JM60

        There’s been a lot of research showing that travel times tend to go up exponentially with traffic volume, and that human drivers use roads very inefficiently. Regarding the latter, I suggest watching cgpgrey’s video on traffic. One selfish driver may add minutes to the commute of others to shave seconds off of their commute.

      5. RubyJackson

        People texting, tinted rear windows, vigilantes who try to control the flow of traffic by driving slow in the fast lane, illegals aliens with legal driver’s licenses who are unfamiliar with and did not learn how to drive on our freeways, lack of situational awareness. These are all contributing factors in why traffic is so bad in LA.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          So cal born and raised here!
          You forgot all of the American citizens (from all over) with legal licenses who drive like utter shit.

          When I lived in WA there were a LOT of horrible (white) drivers who, as my roommate put it “all learned to how to drive in the sticks on a tractor” and has no idea how to handle real cars on the almost traffic-free roads & freeways in the small town where I lived.

    11. SM

      Agreed, I live in LA and while 2 hours seems to be pushing it a bit, at least a third of my office has a 1.5 hr commute. A common saying here is to live where you work and that’s exactly what I did. When I got my current job it was 1.5 hour commute for about 6 months, when my apartment lease ended I moved as close to work as I could afford and now have a 20 minute commute. I also time out errands and appointments to miss rush hour traffic.

    12. Jadelyn

      Speaking as a lifelong Bay Area resident, I would never say that 2 hours is *normal* for the Bay. Some people do it, sure, but I’d say around an hour to an hour and a half is the norm. I try to keep my commutes in the 45-60 min range in general, although I’ve gotten spoiled by working in the same city I live in for the past couple years and having only a 15-20 min commute.

      Although, I mean, I know of a couple of people who commute from Modesto to the city, and that’s like…2.5 hrs or something, so there are always those who are willing to go to extremes.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Agreed, although there’s a huge class element to commutes. There’s been heavy suburbanization of poverty over the past 20 years, so we’re seeing more folks commuting from Modesto/Stockton/Antioch/Fairfield because of housing costs (rent is cheaper, which in the short run helps offset increased transit costs). Or if you live in suburbs with poor public transit and no BART access (or can’t afford BART over bus fare).

        But as another lifelong Bay Arean, I agree that 2-hour commutes in the central Bay Area are not common. 45-60 is way more common, as are 20 minute commutes if you’re traveling between neighboring cities (e.g. downtown Berkeley to downtown Oakland, or Oakland to SF).

        1. Jadelyn

          Oh, absolutely agreed re the class element. I grew up in Fairfield/Vallejo area, in fact, for that exact reason – it was where my parents could afford to live, and my dad commuted from there to Hayward for years.

          Though, he did have a motorcycle, which made the commute a lot less worse. I’ve decided that if I have to get a job any further away than about 30 mins, I’m going to follow in his example and commute via motorcycle instead.

    13. Secretary

      I live in the Bay Area too and 30 miles is never two hours… well unless you go through SF.

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Or if you’re commuting from the Valley (Tracy/Manteca) to San Jose is from the central Alameda and CoCo County suburbs (Danville, San Ramon, Dublin/Livermore) to Silicon Valley. Or if you rely solely on bus and are coming from an outer city in the direction of traffic.

        But I strongly agree that 2 hours is not common in the Bay. 45-60 min is way more common.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          To be fair, Walnut Creek to San Jose/Peninsula is 45 min. to 75 min. with no traffic, so 2 hours isn’t a huge difference. (But the solution is to drive off peak because there isn’t really a public transit option that’s any faster than driving during rush hour.)

      2. LL Cool G

        Hah! I live in East CoCo County and drive into the Alameda Co. Tri Valley area and it takes me almost 90 minutes one way to drive between 36-40 miles. On a good day, 70 minutes one way is heaven. So yes, it is almost 2 hours to work and 2 hours back to home (friday afternoons are the worst!).

    14. MsChanandlerBong

      I visited SF for the first time last year, and I found the traffic there to be even worse than in NYC, and that’s really saying something. I didn’t think anything could be worse than NYC traffic!

    15. GT

      Did 2.5 hours each way in the Bay area. Luckily I have since changed jobs and am down to 45 minutes each way by walking + BART, or 30 minutes by bike.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

        I couldn’t drive for 5 hours each day even if I didn’t have to work too, and there was no traffic- and I *like* driving for fun!

        But 5 hours in the car AND an (at least) eight hour work day? Would kill me. I couldn’t handle mentally OR physically.

        You must have steel belted fortitude!

    16. I Love LA - Post Dodgers Win

      This post gave my traumatic flashbacks. I grew up in the Inland Empire and for a while commuted to my job in South LA, ~40 miles. In the car it’s about 1.5 hours each way, on a good day. Sometimes I would take the commuter bus into downtown, then hop on the Expo line to work. It would take maybe 10 minutes longer than by car. I also did the South LA-the Valley commute for grad school. It’s true, if you leave after 3pm, it’s a parking lot. I moved to Nor Cal and my commute is 20 minutes tops now. I love LA and would give anything to move back, but it would only happen if I had a sustainable commute. Traffic in Southern California is just a fact of life.

      1. Kathleen_A

        Short answer: No. It gave up just about all of that when it converted to the freeway religion.

    17. Anon.

      I used to live in Northridge and worked in El Segundo, 405 all the way. I worked flex hours, but still my commute averaged 90 minutes…one time it was 11 hours to get home. Eventually, I found a gym near work, and would go there and get my workout in and wait for traffic to die down. Of course this being LA, “die down” is relative.

      Oh, and Seattle native here, and I have to tell all you Seattle kids, the traffic in Seattle and surrounding communities is ALREADY as bad or worse than LA. In LA, there’s options with long surface streets. In Seattle, not so much.

    18. JM60

      I live in the SF Bay Area, and my commute is ~25 minutes with cruise control set for the speed limit (in the slow lane) on the freeway. However, I tremendously benefit from going reverse commute.

      America greatly needs better public transportation. Everyone driving cars on huge highways is a very inefficient way to get masses of people to and from work, especially considering how bad human drivers are at efficiently using roads (I recommend that everyone watch CGPGey’s video of traffic).

    19. Mrs. D

      Yep!

      I had to chuckle a bit, because as a life-long SF Bay Area native 2 hours is quite common here (thought I know it’s not the norm in a lot of the US). Both hubby and I had long commutes in our previous jobs, but within the last few years got jobs in new locations much closer to home with much better commutes. Many people here complain about long commutes, even those that use public transportation to get to and from work.

      I think the longest commute anyone I know has had was my cousin’s husband who used to travel ~60 miles to and from work every day and spend over 3 hours each way. For this area, it’s the cost of housing that drives people to live further away from the metro areas and creates those long commutes.

    20. PizzaSquared

      It doesn’t have to be. I live in Southern California and my current commute is under 30 minutes. The worst I’ve had for a sustained period of time is 45 minutes. It’s just about choosing jobs and housing such that you don’t have to go too far in the wrong direction.

    21. jamlady

      Born and raised in LA – agreed that it’s super normal. I finally settled into my long-term job with an hour commute each way and it’s a breeze to me. That being said, my husband isn’t from here and will not commute more than 30 min. And I think that’s totally fair! It’s one of those things you have to be okay with in your work-life, so if the OP needs a different job with a better commute, that makes total sense to me.

    22. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

      I’ve lived in SoCal for 48 years and never worked more than 20-25 minute drive from any place I’ve ever worked (shortest commute: 2-3 minutes.)
      It can be done!

  4. Observer

    Stop arguing with your boyfriend. It doesn’t matter if this is “normal” or not. Because “normal’ does NOT equal “ok”.

    2+ hour commutes are not OK for a lot of people and you sound like you are one of them. That’s not being “special snowflake”, that’s being realistic about your limitations.

    I’d just say that you should see if you can find a new job before you quit.

    1. Audenc

      It’s also not healthy for ANYONE, even for those who supposedly don’t mind it. I had a boss who did a 4+ hr round trip commute everyday just to afford a nicer house in the DC area. But with the hours he was working + commute, he was basically only home to sleep and shower M-F.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz

        Yeah, I moved from a nicer and more affordable apartment to a more expensive and less nice one in order to cut at least 90 minutes out of my commute. My thought being, what’s the point of living somewhere nice if you’re not home enough to enjoy it?

        I agree with Observer that normal does not equal ok. 100% that.

        1. LBK

          Completely agreed – I’m willing to pay more/live somewhere not as nice that’s close to work because I get to actually be there. At most I usually spend an hour total commuting every day and that alone annoys me sometimes. I can’t imagine wasting 2-3 additional hours of my day just getting to/from work. Not worth it.

        1. Original Poster!

          He works off-hours (starts at 6 am and leaves at 3 pm) so it’s not bad, but if he does hit traffic staying late it about 45 min-hour. We live between OC and LA, but he commutes into OC (17 miles).

      2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

        I used to live in a shabby little cinder block house in the desert that a friend of mine dubbed the Serial Killer Shack, but it was cheap AF, 5-6 minutes from a job I loved, and I had no visible neighbors.
        As far as I was concerned, it was better than a million dollars and a mansion in Beverly Hills because those three things were exactly what I wanted.
        NOTHING on earth would be worth a 4+ hour commute like that for me.

    2. Original Poster!

      Haha, we’re not arguing! But thank you. I started sending applications out last week (of course leaving this job off) and already have a few bites, so I’m hopeful.

    3. Cor

      This! Who cares what’s “normal” if it doesn’t work for you!

      Good luck in your search!

  5. namelesscommentator

    30 miles seems like a long commute distance-wise for the LA area, but 2 hours is what I would expect that to take during rush hour. I definitely have screenshots saved of the next 3 miles projected at 50+ minutes, both from the 5 in southern california and the Bay Bridge up north.

    If the commute doesn’t work for you assess if you’d rather house hunt, or job search, and proceed with whichever fits better into your plans.

    1. Seriously?

      Or potentially both. If the traffic in LA in untenable for you, it isn’t unreasonable to move to another city if that is a possibility for you.

    2. Buffay the Vampire Layer

      I think this is exactly the problem. Most people in LA don’t have 2 hour commutes because most people aren’t driving 30 miles to work. 30 miles is definitely going to be 2 hours in LA traffic.

  6. Natalie

    Ugh, 4 hours a day commuting sounds awful. That’s half of a “standard” work day!

    If you otherwise like your job, is moving closer to work an option?

    1. Sylvan

      That’s twelve hours a day of work plus commute. That and sleep leave four hours of free time a day at most, if you call it “free time” when you’re getting up, getting dressed, going to bed, cooking, eating, or going to an appointment.

      1. Original Poster!

        Yeah, I literally do not do anything during the week. 4:30 am get up, 40 min ride to a yoga studio near work, 1 hour class, 7:30 – 5:30 at work (usually start at 830 but if my 1 of my 2 bosses is in early that means I have to start when I arrive, no lunch (always so busy that I can never step away), 5:30 pm leave, 7:30 – 8 pm home, luckily my bf makes dinner and then I fall into bed half dead and repeat that 4 more times.

        1. BRR

          I was in the same situation when I started my job, thankfully I can now work at home part of the time. I worked all week and basically slept all weekend because I was so exhausted. I don’t have any advice but you have my deepest sympathy. Can you take public transit part of the way (I know that’s a long shot in LA)?

        2. SpaceNovice

          There’s no way you can be expected to keep that schedule up long term and have a good quality of life. It might be “normal” for an area, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. I know I couldn’t do it.

        3. Elemeno P.

          Are there any yoga classes after work? Taking that 1 hour class after work might help alleviate rush hour and let you sleep a bit more.

          1. Original Poster!

            I already to yoga at 6 am every day (or bootcamp or whatever the other 6 am class is) but I really need to get home by 8 the latest to eat dinner… and sleep. I know it sounds ridiculous but traffic doesn’t clear up until like 7-8 pm so Id be home even later with the same-ish drive. I tried… I really did.

            1. Elemeno P.

              That’s a really rough schedule (50 hours a week is no joke), and it doesn’t sound ridiculous at all! Good luck with your job search!

        4. Observer

          You also have a long day, on top of the commute. This does not sound like a sustainable schedule.

    2. Original Poster!

      Unfortunately no. I absolutely do not want to live this deep in LA. I currently live between OC and LA and love where I am – it’s cheap, quiet, pretty and all my friends are here. I left NYC bc I was so sick of the city life struggle and giving 60% of my salary to rent. :(

      1. Original Poster!

        Oh and the surrounding areas that are between my home and LA… let’s just say… I’m not out to gentrify those plots.

      2. Elemeno P.

        Is your work near a subway line? I lived in LA for 5 years and exclusively took public transit. If you’re in Norwalk or somewhere similar, it might be possible to go to the nearest Amtrak/Metrolink station, park, and take the train the rest of the way. At least you’ll be free to do something else during that time.

        1. Original Poster!

          I live in LB and there is a subway but it goes through all the not so great neighborhoods… I’ve taken it during the day before and would just not feel comfortable being on a train with shady folks this early in the morning (I’m 5’1 and look super young despite being 30).

          1. Elemeno P.

            Oops, I posted something else before I saw this.

            I’d really recommend giving it a shot, if you can. Maybe just for a week to try it out and see how you feel. I took public transit in LA too (I was 21-26 while I lived there; 30 now, and also look young), so I am 100% familiar with that commute (my friends lived in LB; I lived in Little Armenia). I carried brass knuckles at all times to make myself feel better, but I never had to use them. There are weird people in the train sometimes, but they’re no worse than weird train people in other cities.

          2. I Love LA - Post Dodgers Win

            I used to get on the Expo line at 6am. I just tell myself that it wasn’t that bad, and it never was. Also, Metro is beefing up security on lines and I would always see sherriffs on board checking fares. At least 2-3 times per week.

          3. JSPA

            “I must drive because there’s no transit” is a very different problem than, “I can’t wrap my head around the idea of trying transit.”

            You’re likely making some unwarranted assumptions on the basis of…let’s give you and everyone else the benefit of the doubt, and call it a combination of style and socioeconomics.

            Generally, the vast majority of people on the subway are there to get from point A to point B, not to bother other each other or make mischief. And frankly, New Yorkers may believe they’re more stand-offish, but you’re more likely to be entirely ignored by the other passengers in CA than in NY.

            Try it a few times (in summer, when the days are marginally longer, and you have more daylight). If you’re not comfortable alone in the park-and-ride, coordinate with boyfriend for drop-off and/or pick-up.

            1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

              Um, OP posted earlier about a frightening and traumatic experience that gave her PTSD, which is the main reason she does not feel safe on public transit.

              This has NOTHING to do with “some unwarranted assumptions on the basis of…a combination of style and socioeconomics” and EVERYTHING to do with real threats she’s had to her personal safety.

              Perhaps you should take your own advice about making unwarranted assumptions?

        2. Elemeno P.

          Oh, I saw that you said it was Long Beach and working in WeHo. In that case, subway and bus! You might still be spending 2 hours but at least you can read or play a game or something.

      3. Doreen

        The rent was related to your short commute . I know lots of people who work in NYC and have 1.5 to 2 hour commutes from Suffolk and even Pennsylvania because housing is way less expensive in those places. I myself have had a 1.5 hour driving commute entirely within the NYC limits (Queens to the Bronx) because in NYC , it’s all very dependent on exactly where you live and work.

      4. FCJ

        Anything that’s “between OC and LA” and also “cheap” is probably on one of the freeways that I would avoid like the plague during the day. I used to commute between Pomona and Costa Mesa, which was roughly 2 hours each way on the 57, and it was awful. The answer to your letter is that you and your boyfriend are both right–a 2-hour commute is normal, if on the extreme end of normal, and it’s also exhausting and bad for your health and nobody would think you were being unrealistic if you gave that as a reason for looking for a new job.

        1. Original Poster!

          Yeah, I take 710 to 5 to 101. 101 to the 5 is what takes the longest. It’s like pulling teeth. 710 is usually fine.

          1. jamlady

            Born and raised in LA – so sorry about the culture shock! Long Beach to West Hollywood is unbearable for most people, even those of us who are used to it. Hopefully you find something new soon!

      5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Hen you’ll have to switch jobs, OP, or work out some telework arrangement. Your commute is not going to change before this commute makes you lose your mind.

  7. Anonymous48

    I did an hour commute in Chicago. However, a lot of that was a voluntary tradeoff of having a pleasanter commute (living farther up the line meant I was guaranteed a seat on the train) vs. a shorter commute (when I might have to wait for a few trains to go by because they’re so squished).

    In retrospect, though, I wish I’d gone with the tradeoff of living in an area I liked less (the “see and be seen” part of town) for the ability to walk to work.

      1. Anonymous48

        I was actually on the El, just so far up the line that my commute was probably longer than some people taking the Matra. (Part of it was also the half mile between my apartment and the station and then the half mile between the station and my office.)

        1. Queen of Cans & Jars

          Unfortunately, public transit wasn’t a great option for me. I was commuting outward, and as someone new to the area, I foolishly assumed that I’d be going opposite of traffic, and that it wouldn’t be an issue. Learned that lesson the hard way!

    1. RabbitRabbit

      Chicago suburbs, work just past the West Loop; my morning commute door-to-door (walk, Metra, work shuttle) is an hour. Evening is a little longer because the work shuttle hits some heavy traffic.

      1. Clever Name

        I loved my one-hour, door-to-door commute when I took Metra (just under 1/2 mile walk from my house to metra and then a little more than 1/2 mile from Ogilvie to my office). We moved, and now I’m just a little too far to walk to the Metra stop by my new house. Driving is at least an hour and twenty minutes and it is killing me. I need to figure out parking at the new metra stop or find a new job.

    2. blackcat

      Walking to work is the best. When I moved from the south to the Boston area, I traded a 35 minute driving commute for a 35 minute walking commute (shorter on a bus, but I like the walk whenever it was >15 degrees and not raining).

      It was so, so good for my physical and mental well being. I paid out the nose for it in rent, but it was worth it.

  8. Hannah

    My commute is about an hour, but can be an hour and a half if things aren’t going my way.

    My commute is 8 miles. I’m on the east coast.

    1. Original Poster!

      Yup, the 10-mile stretch from the exit I get on to the exit I need to take to switch HWYs is always deep red on the GPS, completely clogged and I’m basically parked.

    2. soupmonger

      Good grief! You could cycle 8 miles in 30 mins. I mean in theory, of course; no idea if you actually *could* or not.

      1. Overeducated

        My commute is similar to Hannah’s and yes, it is faster to cycle, so I do when the weather is good! When it’s not, though….

    3. HS Teacher

      My commute in Philly was like that. It was awful.
      Now my commute is 10-15 minutes, depending on when I leave for work. It’s glorious.

  9. Scully

    I had a 15-minute commute for 11 years. After that job, I had a commute of 1.5 hours each way and it was the main reason I quit. Never again. Never, ever again. Now I’m back to a 15-minute commute.

      1. Scully

        Lordy, I hope someone is watching. I’ve been running after aliens in 4-inch heels and Mulder just does not appreciate that as much as he should.

    1. KHB

      My commute is 15 minutes – on foot – and I’m willing to sacrifice a lot to keep things that way. It’s the big reason I haven’t bought a home, and possible never will (at least until I retire).

      1. Zennish

        Don’t think of it as a sacrifice. I’ve wished a million times I had never bought a house. Their two major functions are to suck up money and kill mobility.

        1. KHB

          That’s true. Intellectually, I know that the whole “homeownership is the American Dream and renting is just throwing money away” thing is so much BS, but there’s a part of me that can’t quite shake the feeling that I’m getting too old to be dealing with landlords and annoying downstairs neighbors.

          1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

            I rent a house, and am SO grateful not to be the one that had to pay for repairs!

        2. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          I don’t EVER want to own a house (unless I miraculously come into enough money to buy it outright and have lots left over for taxes, maintenance, insurance, etc and to hire someone to oversee it all!)
          Not only are all houses money pits, my executive function issues are too severe for me to deal with the major responsibility of it all.

      2. Mona Lisa

        I am with you on this one. My commute is two miles each way, and I walk it 95% of the time. My husband and I are considering buying a house right now, and since we live in a city where walking is not common, our realtor seems bemused by the fact that we outright reject anything more than 2.5 miles from my office.

    2. LBK

      Yeah, I don’t think I’d ever be able to go back to a commute over 30 minutes. My current one is 15 on a good day, and when it’s nice out I can even walk in ~25 minutes.

  10. NJAnonymous

    My commute for the last 4 years has been 2 hours each way, 90 minutes of which is on a train (Thanks, outdated NJTransit!). But I work remotely 2-3 days a week and when I’m home, my quality of life is so much better than it would be if I lived in northern NJ or NYC.

    Now. If I had to commute in and out of NY 5 days a week, there’s no way I could handle it, so I feel you OP.

    1. Not a Real Giraffe

      I live in Brooklyn and work on the Upper West Side. My door-to-door commute, which includes two different subway lines, is between 75-90 minutes depending on how the trains are running. It is not as bad as I expected it to be, but then again I can usually grab a seat on at least one of the subways and read or sleep through a chunk of the commute. I cannot imagine having to actively drive for that entire time through jam-packed traffic!

      1. Original Poster!

        Yeah, I think I would hate it a bit less if it was a quiet, chill train ride. Driving that distance I honestly had instances (both in the morning and at night) where I was about to pass the hell out at the wheel and kind of had that “call of the void” thing where your brains tells you to just close your eyes for ooooonnne tiny second. It’s bad.

      2. Tavie

        Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan here, I’m ~45 minutes door to door, ~60 if I get a seat on the local subway and decide to take it the whole way so I can get a nap in. (I get a seat about 50% of the time.) If no seat, I switch to the express train and get to work roughly on time…

  11. N

    It looks to be normal, but awful. I would 100% ask about flex time, and if not granted, change jobs.

      1. Original Poster!

        Yeah, unfortunately as an EA with two very needy execs there’s no way I could do 7 am to 3:30 pm.. anything that’s not those times will still have me sitting in 2 hour traffic every day. :(

  12. Transit Whisperer

    1hr 15 each way for me, but it is via train/walking. I like the time to myself, though, and I have flexibility to telework as needed.

    1. einahpets

      Yeah — that is the thing for me. I’ve got two young kids — I never get time to myself at home before their bedtime. At least with my commute it is just me in the car (with my audiobooks or silence, depending on my mood).

    2. kcat

      My dad had a 1.5 – 2 hour commute each way growing up (so, 25 years ago) in socal. I barely saw him. It may be “normal” there, but it greatly informed my decision to move elsewhere after I graduated. My commute now is 35 minutes walking, 12 minutes by bike or bus. (And I have a paid off house, while my California friends are still/forever renting). That said, I do still miss the beach and weather a ton.

      1. flyover country snob

        where is this, omaha? stereotype or not, i won’t live in the midwest. i don’t do winter and don’t do boring! if florida, ok.

      2. einahpets

        Was this intended to be a comment to my comment?

        I see my kids plenty despite my commute; I definitely see my kids awake more than my husband does because he ends up working later hours that have nothing to do with his 20 minute commute.

      3. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

        My dad worked in Anaheim, 10, maybe 15 minute drive from home. He also started work at the crack of ass, so he was home not long after we got home from school (and we had a SAHM.)
        I still live in SoCal, I love it here, and I don’t think I could deal with the weather anywhere else, as I have a disability that makes even small amounts of humidity unbearable, and being even a little cold almost painful.

  13. Countess Boochie Flagrante

    Yeah, no, I would consider 2 hours each way to be completely unsustainable. But then, I’m a person who prioritizes short commutes even if it means paying a lot more for housing — I recently moved to a more expensive area so that I could have a door-to-desk trip of 15 minutes.

    I tell people — the car I drive is not nearly nice enough to want to spend a significant portion of my life in it!

    1. Original Poster!

      Right? My car is okay, not that great. Which also has me worried about “what if I get into an accident? what if it breaks down?” of course I have insurance but my car runs fine, and I hate knowing I’m putting so many miles on it daily.

      1. blackcat

        It’s not so much the miles as the stop and go (or slow and go) traffic. My car was still like new after 2 years of a 25 mile each way commute in the south. I put >30,000 miles on it in those first two years.

        4 years in Boston has only added ~3,000 miles (and >half of that is road trips), but the car is getting much more wear.

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

          My car is 19 years old with over 100k miles, but still runs great because it’s been mostly long drives with not a lot of stop & go.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz

      Unsustainable is a great word, Countess. I used it myself when referring to my 90-minute-to-two-hour+ commute I had. I went from a job where I worked from home 100% of the time to one where I commuted 90 minutes (if I was lucky) by train and subway. When I accepted that job I was told I might be able to telecommute one or two days a week but the culture there really didn’t seem open to my doing so. I decided to move to a location that’s 20 minutes by bus from work. Best move I ever made. And like the Countess, I moved to a more expensive area. I’m basically paying extra rent so I can park my car closer to work (in my driveway).

      OP, two hours might be fine for some people and might not be unusual in your area, but if you are finding it frustrating then I’d say go ahead and either move or look for work closer to home. It’s not worth spending half the amount of time you’re at work traveling to and from work.

      Somewhat related: I just did my taxes this week and I never noticed before that there’s a relocation benefit if you’ve moved for work. I put in the mileage and it turns out that you need to move at least 50 miles closer to work in order to qualify for it, which annoyed me because I’d only moved 30 but in my area that’s a difference of at least three total hours of commuting time. In more rural areas, sure, 50 makes sense but in an urban area like Boston, they should go by travel time, IMHO.

    3. The Original K.

      I had a 90-minute-each-way commute once (public transportation – had to take two trains and a bus. It was a contract job so it didn’t make sense to move) and I hated every second of it. Not only was it long and tiring, since it was public transportation, I was always stressed out about whether a leg of the trip was going to get messed up, thus throwing off the entire thing. I’m very open about the fact that I will not consider a commute that long (whether it’s by car or PT) ever again.

    4. Marillenbaum

      An excellent point! I loved my neighborhood when I first moved to DC–I was near Shaw, and it was amazing: I was right across the street from a great bar, cool restaurants in easy walking distance, and I loved the architecture. Unfortunately, my university was in deep NW, and my door-to-door commute was about an hour (assuming the Red Line behaved), which was NOT fun when classes get out at 8 PM. When my lease ended, I moved to Cathedral Heights, and I’ve really loved the neighborhood–I have 25-minute walking commute, and it’s lovely. I still miss Shaw, but I figure once I graduate (!), I can move back.

  14. paul

    It’s not just the drive time, it’s the stress. My actual work commute is short (god bless flyover country), but I’ve done long drives a lot and 2 hours of driving on a rural NM back road is *so* much less stressful than 2 hours of driving in Austin.

    I know some people that do 1-1.5 hour commutes from outlaying rural areas into my city to work; employment options are scarce in really tiny towns and until they have another oil boom they won’t get anything for their house. but those’re a lot less stressful than 2 hours of stop and go rush hour crap.

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      Good point about the roads! My folks, who now live in backwoods Michigan, laugh at me for complaining when it takes me (in the greater metro radius of a major city) half an hour to get somewhere, since that’s pretty much their minimum drive to get to civilization — but they’re thinking of 30 minutes on the M22 with nothing much going on, whereas I’m thinking of battling Baltimoron traffic for 30 minutes!

    2. Your Tax Dollars at Work

      I grew up in NM and live in NY now. I used to do a job with a 1.5 hour commute (walk to subway, subway to train, train to other train, bus to parking lot, 15 minute walk across mall parking lot) and when I was complaining to my dad he said “bummer. Today it took me 8 minutes to get to work.” Nothing beats an Albuquerque commute!

    3. AnotherAlison

      I think that’s a good point. I once lived 45 miles from work, and I didn’t mind it because I felt like it should take ~1 hr, and it did. When it “should” take 15 minutes and it takes 1+ hrs, that’s when I lose my mind.

      Long rural commutes can be hard on your gas budget and wear and tear on your car, though. And it stinks when you get to the end and you have the last 5-mile problem where it took you an hour to go 40 miles and 30 minutes to go 5.

      1. CMart

        This was my issue a couple years ago commuting for grad school. The university was 45 miles away so of course it should take about an hour to get there. It was mostly a reverse commute (opposite way down the highway during rush hour) so once I got to the highway it was speedy. I didn’t mind that it took an hour, because of course it did.

        However 30 out of those 60 minutes were going the 7 miles from my suburban home to the highway. It was an aggravating way to start the day anyway.

    4. Parenthetically

      Yeah, this is an interesting point. My brother has a 50 minute commute, but it’s on highways and country roads with no traffic, to the next town over. Very different than 50 minutes in traffic.

      1. Alucius

        Yeah, that’s mine too.

        Occasionally I catch a bit of traffic heading out of my city, but I’m going the opposite direction of most commuters so it’s rarely too bad. Work is close to the edge of its city so I don’t run into much there either. Aside from gas and wear/tear it’s almost stressfree.

        I do have to do one day a week in a super big city, but fortunately I can flex when I get in and leave to avoid the worst of it.

    5. The New Wanderer

      THIS. I just declined to go further with a job because they required butts in seats 5 days/week and even with flexible hours (which I wasn’t sure they had), the commute would be 45-60 minutes of stop and go stress. Lots of people can handle that, but I cannot.

      I have commuted about 40 min each way of straight highway driving in the reverse commute and it was just fine, almost relaxing. If public transportation was an option, I think it’d be reasonable too. But my personal situation requires more flexibility than a carpool would allow and the stress of heavy traffic every morning and evening is just too much.

    6. Original Poster!

      Yeah, if it was breezing through traffic at least… but nope. It’s horrible LA drivers (sorry – I said it), I constantly see accidents or “almost accidents”, it’s just stressful as hell.

      1. einahpets

        Yeah, I’ve become very zen about traffic and crazy drivers after a year + of this commute, but my husband did end up getting me a dash cam after I recounted one too many crazy close call traffic accidents. The scariest was a semi truck veering across 5 lanes of traffic to land onto the interstate median… and surprisingly no other car was involved.

        I’ve seen absolutely nothing since the dash cam was installed. I am hoping I never actually do!

    7. Lurker

      In the 1980s, my mother drove 45 miles to her job in Closest Big City. People in my tiny, rural hometown thought she was crazy. Back then, it was a Big Deal for us to go to the Big City for shopping, dining, etc. But now people think nothing of making the drive on a daily basis.

      I live in New York, about 3.5 miles from my office. If I take the subway (and there are no delays), my commute is about 35-40 minutes. If I take the bus, it’s 40-45 minutes, but far less stressful (and I always get a seat because of where I live). Even a cab will take me about 30 minutes due to rush hour traffic.

    8. k.k

      Right, it’s not just the time, it’s the type of time. I’m job hunting currently and potential commutes is a huge concern. I live in a city with ample pubic transit, but I prefer to drive. I’d take a 30 minute drive over a 15 minute bus ride. And I’d take a longer drive on residential side streets over a shorter one on the highway. These factors are 100% personal preference and might seem nuts to someone else, but it’s something I’ll have to do almost everyday so I might as well not hate it.

      1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore

        Ha! My husband and I both have different Costcos we prefer, which both take about the same amount of travel time. However *I* prefer the one that’s a quick no-stops jump on the freeway, and he prefers the one that’s a leisurely drive on surface streets. I hate driving to his and he hates driving to mine. So which one we shop at is based entirely on who is driving that day.

    9. Antilles

      Excellent point. For me it’s wasn’t as much the stress of the physical driving (though that was notable) as much as the stress related to being completely uncertain as to the time involved.
      I had a commute that was about 40 minutes each-way in no traffic (Atlanta). The miserable part was just being completely uncertain on a day-to-day basis what it would be until I’m actually out there on the road. Is it an hour today? Is it 1 hr, 15 mins? Is there an accident on I-75 and I might as well pull off and have dinner at a restaurant right now because I will legitimately get home at the same time as if I try to sit here on the highway? Who knows!

    10. Traveling Teacher

      No kidding! When moving, we researched transit extensively, tried routes to and from workplaces after being burned by Google Maps’ estimation in our last city, and determined that the train was the best option, in spite of literally living in a different country than the physical workplace.

      It’s much quicker, more reliable, and less stressful to *always* have a 35 minute commute than a car that could get you there in 25-45 minutes whenever you want…or get you stuck on a bridge burning fuel in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour and a half+!

      And, if there’s a train incident, then these days, there’s always WFH for part of the day. I have plenty of colleagues who do commute by car, and I literally have no idea how they have enough energy to put themselves through that daily.

    11. Brownie

      This is it exactly. I grew up in the Seattle area, then got a job in downtown Seattle. Thirty miles was an hour and a half commuting time on the bus in the HOV lanes and it was so stressful. Miss the bus, catch the one 10 minutes later, and have another 30-45 minutes added to the commute. One accident in the wrong place and it’s another 2 hours stuck on the bus. Sports game at the stadiums where the bus has to pass adds another hour just to get out of town. It was horrible.

      Now I’m in NM and oh my, it’s wonderful and I never ever want to go back to a big city. Here a long commute is 45 minutes of 55 mph with no traffic jams and people complain about it. My own commute is 15 minutes and that includes a stop to get breakfast. I’ll never go back to the stress of traffic jam commuting. Never. Being able to be home at 5:30 and have dinner and a life after work is worth so much more than money to me.

    12. Mad Baggins

      So true! My commute is 30-40 min but I can read on the train and transport is reliable and comfortable, if a bit crowded. This thread is making me so grateful for my commute!

  15. AnotherHRPro

    I used to live in southern California and that is not unusual. But the real question is it something you can do? I learned that I am not good with long commutes so I have always chosen to live fairly close to where I work (in the same town). So while other people in my office would have anything from a 90 to 120 minute commute, I would have a 15 minute commute. There are pros and cons. Like I tended to pay much more for housing than folks that lived further out. That was a trade off I was willing to take.

    If you do decide to suck it up and live with your commute, start exploring alternate routes. Often surface streets can take less time during rush hour (or feel like it because you are moving), you just need to figure out which ones work for you.

    Southern California is wonderful, but the traffic is just miserable, but again, it is a trade off for living there.

    1. einahpets

      Yeah, I live in SD county, and we could have a shorter commute — but we love the city we live in, it is a great space for our kids to grow up + close to the beach + affordable. Its worth it for the commute for me.

      Another option for the OP, if she is up for it — I have some coworkers who have a membership at a gym close to work. They drive in early, do their gym time, and thus avoid traffic at its worst in the mornings. Then we do try and do happy hours every month or so near work to catch up / avoid traffic home.

    2. AnotherHRPro

      While my to the office commute was short, I did travel alot and the drive to/from LAX was horrible. About 15 miles away and it always took more than an hour. Doing that 2x or more a week was so frustrating.

    1. palomar

      I beg to differ. Come to the Pacific Northwest, where 2 hour commutes are also not uncommon! Or try Austin, Houston, Dallas…

      1. Brownie

        Seattle area traffic is horrific. When it’s preferable to people to drive 2 hours over a mountain pass each way rather than live within 30 miles of work because it’s a less stressful commute with the same amount of time as living closer? No thanks!

      2. A (former) Cad Monkey

        Exactly. My former job was less than 12 mi. If I took surface streets it was about an hour to drive, taking the freeway was 1.5 hours. (Houston area btw)

      3. Emily Spinach

        When I lived in Seattle (suburbs!) my “commute” could be as short as 20 minutes–at midnight when no one else was driving. After work hours? With construction on I-5 and 99? Which went on for well over a year on the stretch of road I was commuting on? Easily 1.5 hours home each day. That experience was so miserable that I have organized much of my adult life to avoid anything even resembling a suburb. I can’t tolerate a life where I live 90 minutes from the things I like and/or need to get to.

      4. Lentils

        I’m seeing people list such short commutes and I literally can’t imagine that. The only short commute I’ve ever had was a 3-month retail job down the hill from my parents’ house, which was usually ~5-10 minutes. Currently I live 20 miles north of Seattle and carpool with coworkers, so our commute is ~45 minutes in the morning and then it can be as long as 90 minutes in the afternoon, but usually more like 50-60.

        1. Dr Wizard, PhD

          I got lucky in that I live in Dublin city centre and also work there. Admittedly the far side of the city centre, but it’s still only a 35-40 minute walk or a 25-30 minute walking+tram journey.

          Of course that means you have to pay Dublin rent prices…

  16. N. Barnacle

    I had a one hour commute (from a suburb to a rural area, through farmland, 55 mph the whole way, no traffic–so, not terrible at all except for the time and the fact that I hate driving) and it was killing me. Two hours in traffic would be more than I could bear. I actually took a pay cut for a job where I now walk to the bus stop in my front yard and it takes 20 min. door to door. Nine months in and it’s still glorious. If you can’t move, or change your hours, but you don’t want to quit, you should find a way to make that time part of your life: language-learning course, books you’ve always wanted to read, a new broadway show each week that you learn by heart, etc. It is normal enough though–I know several folks who commute that long or longer into Manhattan, Boston, etc.

    1. k.k

      This might sound crazy, but I would hate that! I know most people would love that, but living that close to work would stress me out (not being able to disconnect, running into people after hours, etc.). Now I’m not signing up for a 2 hour drive anytime soon, but I need a solid 20 minutes between my work world and my real world.

    2. Evan Þ.

      Me too. I moved recently (several blocks down the street) and joke about how my commute doubled – from 4 minutes to 8 minutes.

    3. Cacwgrl

      Same! It’s actually longer for the next 6 months while they do construction on the gate closest to me. We are devastated in our office and yet, our site visitors from further south are like WTF, this isn’t traffic. Now it take 15-25 minutes depending on how long the lines are at the main gate. Sometimes I go to another gate and back around the base to my building so at least I’m moving versus just sitting in a long line.

  17. Anita-ita

    Ooooof. Not a fan of long commutes, such a waste of life. I would push hard for the flexible schedule idea. Possibly doing a trial period to see what he thinks. If it doesn’t work or he says no, I think looking for another job or moving closer is the next step.

  18. LouiseM

    The longest commute I’ve had was a 45 minute bike commute, and the second longest was a 25 minute metro commute that often turned in to a 45 minute one because of delays. To be honest, it’s really all about you and what you can handle. When I was commuting 45 minutes on my bike, even in wintry conditions, I had other young and healthy friends who said “I don’t understand how you can bike that far, I would never” but ultimately I enjoyed it.

    1. Sutemi

      One thing I love about my bike commute is that the timing is very dependable regardless of traffic or conditions. Biking takes me 23-28 minutes every single time.
      Subway takes 30 best case and 50 worst case, car takes 18-60.

      1. LouiseM

        Great point. That’s actually why I stopped taking public transit and started biking in the first place. I got tired of leaving 20 minutes early “just in case” (even though in the end my bike ride took the same amount of time, it was just more consistent)

  19. Mediamaven

    I don’t even care if it’s normal or not for the area, it feels awfully stressful and unhealthy. I couldn’t do it. I think you need to try to find something more manageable and not feel bad about it.

  20. Amber Rose

    Currently my commute is about an hour each way, in ideal conditions. If there’s an accident or bad weather I’m looking at two hours or more. It sucks. It’s the worst.

    In June my company is moving to a location five minutes from my house, and even though I’ve been unhappy I quit my job hunt just for that reason. I’m sooo looking forward to it.

  21. Murphy

    I’m surprised the US average is 26 minutes. I would have guessed a bit higher.

    But 2 hours? Wow. I couldn’t handle that. I did 45 minutes for a while (not traffic, just distance) and that was rough.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Huh. Mine is pretty average, then. If there’s absolutely no traffic, I can make it from home to work in about 12 minutes, but with traffic it’s usually about 25. Pretty manageable. I also happen to live in a part of the city that is very conveniently located relative to the suburb where my office is located, and that was sheer luck.

  22. Schnoodle

    Nope nope nope nope…it is normal for Cali but nope nope nope nope nope…

    My commute from my bed to my desk is 3 minutes. I don’t work work from home either, just happen to literally be able to walk to work.

    1. Schnoodle

      I do change out of pajamas! I do have to drop the tiny human at the daycare which adds a whopping 15 minutes.

      I will say I went from a 45 minute commute (including daycare) to now maybe 20 minutes at worse and from a 4X9/1X4 schedule to 5X8 schedule and love it way more. I no longer am off at noon on Fridays, but I’m also on top of chores and household tasks, so that by Friday I’m off I’m not spending it cleaning the whole house. DH and I also get dinner every night together, I’m able to workout more and so is DH (since I’m home earlier and can keep Tiny Human alive so he can go to the gym).

      I come home for lunch and do dishes, light household chores. Really helps clear our evenings. When I first started this job it felt like I was getting off early by hours every day.

  23. Bend & Snap

    It might be “normal” for LA, but it can really kill your quality of life.
    I’ve always had a long commute, until moving a couple of years ago cut my commute down to 20 minutes and going remote a few months ago cut it down to nothing. I have so much more time and am generally happier.

    Time is valuable, and spending it commuting sucks.

  24. Original Poster!

    Thank you so much for posting my question, Alison. I’m excited to see what everyone thinks and shares. I ultimately made the decision, about a day after I sent the letter and sat in traffic for 2+ hours, to quit next week as my 3-month probation period is almost over, I have a scheduled review and I don’t want to lead the company on. It’s so hard for me to give 100% at work when I can barely recharge to 50% by Wednesday which is not only unfair to me, but also unfair to the owners and my colleagues. I started shooting out my resume last week and immediately hooked a few fish, so I’m a lot less worried now. Keep your fingers crossed for me please!

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante

      Good luck! Glad to hear you’re getting bites right away — hopefully they’re much closer to home!

    2. Clorinda

      Be sure to practice those commutes in rush hour before you take a job. I hope you find the perfect combination.

      1. Engineer Girl

        This was something I did when I bought my place in CA. I faux commuted to my target neighborhoods to make sure I could handle it.
        It turned out the new commute was longer but with less city traffic. In my mind, it was a better commute.

      2. Squeegee Beckenheim

        I did the same thing when I was house hunting since I was pretty committed to the job. It really helped me rule out some areas that were lovely and that I had enjoyed visiting on weekends but were misery to get to after work.

      3. Mona Lisa

        My dad did this when he and my mother bought their first house. They were choosing between two seemingly equal suburbs on opposite sides of the city. They ended up going with the one on the east side of town because my dad realized during his practice commutes (which were the same distance and traffic time) that coming from the east side meant he never had to drive into the sun.

    3. Tardigrade

      I hope you can find something with a reasonable commute (2 hours is not, imo). Good luck to you!

    4. SoCalHR

      I’m glad you’re making a change! my first job ever was 2 hrs each way and it bled my soul dry haha. I vowed to never drive more than 30 mins each way (on a regular basis, there always can be exceptions) and have actually chosen to live really close to my jobs since then. Currently, I do drive an hour each way, but that is only twice a week and I work from home the other days, so my net drive time is within the 30 mins/day. So Cal commuting traffic is no joke – it may be ‘normal’ to some people but that doesn’t make it ok!!

    5. Daisy

      Good luck finding aomething that works better for you! An alternative, if you like biking, might be to bike to work… would be the same amount of time!

    6. Gorgo

      Would you be able to at least leave earlier, even if you can’t start work early? Try to beat the worst of the traffic and have a leisurely breakfast somewhere/go to the gym/nap in the office?

    7. Teapot Engineer

      Make sure you check the commute times for any potential employers. As you’ve found out a 30 mi commute has a HUGE range of times it actually takes. My old boss could not figure out why I hate my 2 hours commute vs his 2 hour commute; mine was all stop and go traffic, his was open highway. Big difference if you avoid the stop and go.

      1. EMW

        Google maps will give you a range for your route at different times of the day. I found this very helpful while job searching. For me, my 52 minute commute was extended to 1 hour 15 minutes anytime school was in session. I drove through 6 school zones. If I left super early I could avoid it, but I would hit it on the way home.

    8. sugarplum

      Good luck! Like some of the others have said, distance and actual commute time are not necessarily correlated around here (I’m in LA, but not in Los Angeles proper) so if having a more reasonable commute is a serious priority for you, do your best to check things out ahead of time. Having more/less freeway time, more/less surface street time, time of day you’re coming and going, whether you’re traveling with or against the bulk of traffic in the areas you’re in makes a HUGE difference.

      I drove from southeast LA county to central OC for 7 years, about 35 miles each way. Being able to flexible about starting and ending times was the most helpful thing, but learning the traffic patterns is also key, especially on the freeway. Hope you find something that keeps you off the road!

    9. Quoth the Raven

      Hoping for the best, OP!

      I can’t offer any insight to the actual traffic because I have never been to California — but I do live in Mexico City, where traffic and commute can be just as insane judging by what I’m reading here. I wouldn’t take a 2+ hours commute either and have actually rejected or self selected out of jobs that would put me in that range (and I don’t drive but exclusively use public transportation).

      Anyway, just wanted to wish you the best! Good luck =)

  25. anon in ny

    I commuted from western NJ to NYC for a year, and it took 2+ hours each way. Drive to bus station. Take bus. Take subway. Walk. I hated it, was never home, had zero life, and didn’t sleep that much, on top of having a highly stressful job that made me physically ill. I would never, ever do that again. I moved closer to the city and managed to cut the commute down to about an hour but then bit the bullet and moved into NYC where I now walk to work. My rent is 2x the price now but my quality of life is infinitely better. We are likely going to have to move again and it makes my stomach churn to even consider having to take the subway every day. :(

    Commuting sucks and I hope you can find something closer to you! Good luck!

    1. Your Tax Dollars at Work

      I commuted NYC to Long Island and made a promise to myself after I left that job to NEVER take a job on regional rail ever again.

      1. LBK

        I walk home from work when it’s nice out (prefer not to walk there so I don’t end up all sweaty when I arrive at the office if it’s hot out) and it is so wonderful and soothing. It’s a nice way to decompress from the day, as opposed to getting on the T which is usually just as stressful as work, if not moreso.

        1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

          My job is 6.2 miles away from home – exactly a 10K. On some Saturdays (when there’s far less road traffic) I RUN home from work! About half of the route is alongside parks so there are no street corners to negotiate. It’s really relaxing and satisfying after a long day, but then again, I’m a distance runner, and all of us distance runners are crazy.

  26. AnotherAlison

    Normal rush hour traffic here is apparently about 45 minutes for 15 miles, but it’s easier to avoid the peak and I got into work in about 15 minutes today. I picked housing that was 15 miles away instead of the 30 miles away “better” areas that everyone else thought I should go to because I didn’t want an hour commute so I’ve been a little disappointed with the 45 minute days, honestly. My previous commute at my home base location was 20 minutes for 15 miles. I might be spoiled, but I have too much to do to spend half my day in the car.

    1. AnotherAlison

      Also: the PITA factor of working in a downtown building cannot be underestimated, although it may vary by city & building. I was in a nice suburban low-rise before, and I could park & be at my desk in about 30 seconds. Now I’ve got to badge into a parking garage, park, walk across the street, take an escalator, badge into the right access area of the office complex, take an elevator, badge into the office with my 3rd badge, and use a key for my company’s office space. It’s like another 10 minutes to get to my desk once I’m “here.”

    2. The New Wanderer

      This is another challenge – when the “peak” of rush hour doesn’t actually end. I should have been tipped off by the fact that the HOV lanes run from 5 am to 7 pm both directions seven days a week. Some (most) days there is still gridlock at 7 pm. I can vouch for there being less traffic at 5 am but I’ve driven emptier highways at midday around other cities.

      When peaks are actually mesas, you’re equally out of luck if your hours are 7 am to 4 pm, or 11 am to 7 pm.

  27. Discordia Angel Jones

    I’m in/around London, UK.

    I used to commute on public transit and it took me 1.5 hours (on a good day, 1 hour 10). I had a half hour train ride during which I would chill out / read a book / catch up on the internet because I would always get on the train when there were seats (and I would consider it 15 minutes well spent waiting for the next one if there were no seats).

    Now I drive to work and it should be 25-30 minutes but regularly takes me 45-60 minutes because of traffic, but I can’t relax and read my book!

    Shorter commute, but when the traffic is bad, it stresses me out more. Although, when I did commute on public transit the trains were messed up about 80% of the time, which was very frustrating (South West Trains! I saw someone mention them here the other day).

    OP, you have my sympathies. 2 hours of bad traffic sounds absolutely awful, and I personally would be looking for another job over it.

    1. einahpets

      Check out audiobooks! I started them a year and a half ago and they’ve changed my whole commute life.

      If you are having trouble getting into the story (I did at first), try upping the narration speed to something similar to your reading speed. Once I did that my brain stayed engaged. It is definitely helping me tackle my to-read pile of books!

      1. Discordia Angel Jones

        I’d love to get behind audiobooks but I don’t seem to read books which have audiobook versions (or at least, they didn’t when I last looked)!

        I’m currently listening to a couple of podcasts (AAM included! haha).

        I’ll check them out again, though, thank you!

        1. einahpets

          What genres do you read? I usually have a book I’m reading in paperback (or on my kindle) and then something via audibook, so I understand not everything being on audiobook. I also had one experience of an urban fantasy / paranormal romance audiobook getting a little… heated… while I was in the bumper to bumper traffic and have mostly sworn off listening to those in the car now, heh.

          1. Discordia Angel Jones

            Yep urban fantasy / paranormal romance is one genre, also “high” fantasy and some pure romance (but I would be way too embarrassed to listen to straight up romance books! Probably even some of the more steamy paranormal romances too I wouldn’t want to listen to… I’m very conscious of the audibility of what I’m listening to outside my vehicle, because I regularly overhear people’s in car telephone conversations!).

            1. einahpets

              I have heard good things about the Dresden Files on audiobook / James Marsters narrates them; I read them before my audiobook obsession began or I’d probably have listened to them.

              The audiobook I am listening to right now is pretty good — ‘A Plague of Giants’, the first book in Kevin Hearne’s new high fantasy series. The narrators (as far as I can tell it is only two, but they have amazing range) are fabulous and the world Hearne has built is pretty intriguing. There is some swearing, if you worry about that thing.

            2. einahpets

              Also — Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (and the sequel Waking Gods) was produced soooo well for the audiobook (multiple narrators), it was almost like a radio play.

              I did jump and scream at least once, though, getting wary looks from other commuters, heh.

            3. einahpets

              And… last one and then I’ll stop, I swear!

              I’m a huge fan of Seanan McGuire, but I never listened to her October Daye series in audiobook / wont switch at this point for that series. I did try another of her series by audiobook though and really enjoyed it – Indexing. She creates really unique / weird worlds. There wasn’t really anything heated in that series, and the narrator had great range (different voices for surly teenager to old mother goose).

        2. hbc

          I use them to read books that I wouldn’t have purchased or spent valuable eye-reading time on, and I’ve discovered a few favorite authors that I wouldn’t have expected. Though sometimes I’ll just pick classics to feel well-read (even if I’m pretty sure I’m going to hate them) or popular books so that I can be a little more up on cultural references.

          Just don’t make the mistake I did and listen to The Road and Beloved back to back driving on desolate roads in a bleak New England January. Brutal.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      I was just about to point out this every same thing. Like the OP, I’m a former New Yorker, and my 45-minute subway or bus commute felt like nothing because I didn’t have to be so engaged. I could read, listen to music, or even shut my eyes for a moment. I’ve since moved to a place with no public transportation (well, it exists, but it’s minimal and does not serve me at all), and how I long for my zone-out commute. My current drive isn’t bad at all, but it is certainly not as pleasant as riding the bus. (Yeah, I said it. I loved riding the bus to work in Manhattan. I also lived uptown and usually got a seat, so YMMV.)

      I still have trouble with long drives because I find them exhausting, and it’s been 3.5 years. I think this contributes to the OP’s frustration and burnout, and I’m glad to see she’s taking steps (as she mentioned in a comment) to get a better situation for herself.

      1. Lurker

        Yes! I prefer taking the NYC bus even though it adds about 10 minutes to my commute. I live near the first stop on bus #1 and transfer far enough uptown that I always get a seat on bus #2 (a limited).

        The bus is so much better than the subway: no musicians playing, no panhandlers; no homeless people sleeping on the seats (although sometimes there are smelly homeless on the bus); if you get stuck in traffic and you’re close to your destination you can just get out at the next stop and walk instead of being trapped underground in a tunnel with someone’s armpit pressed against your face; better air conditioning in the summer, etc.

        The downsides are that a lot of elderly and disabled take the bus so that slows things down when they have to raise/lower the ramps to let them on/off; and everyone can talk on their cell phones. (But noise canceling headphones fix that issue!)

    3. Akcipitrokulo

      I used to do Reading-Aldgate and it was one of factors that contributed to my looking for another job. Swore would never do commute into London again!

      Now doing Reading-North Oxford… and it’s 1.5-2 hours each way door to door. It’s too long, but the job I have is very, very wonderful and makes me happy. I would have left a merely very good job a couple of years ago.

      1. Discordia Angel Jones

        Reading to North Oxford! I wouldn’t have thought it would take that long but kudos to you for doing it!

        I did Kingston to Oxford Street, and that was 1.5 hours. Now I’m going from Kingston to a small town in Surrey, and it’s nice to be going against traffic most of the time (the traffic is caused by schools… or roadworks).

        I feel bad for husband who has to do Kingston – Bermondsey! But he’s got a scooter so at least doesn’t have to change trains 5 times. He did it on the train/tube when he had an injured arm and it took 2.5 hours each way.

        1. Akcipitrokulo

          It’s the travel at either side of the train journey – train is about 1/2 hour, but 20-30 min bus on either end + waiting for connections…. 6.05 leave house, in office 7.45, and leave 16.30, back hopefully 18.00.

          1. Discordia Angel Jones

            Absolutely, connections tend to be the issue with commutes on public transport. If I were able to walk straight onto each form of transport from the other then the 1.5 hour journey would have taken less than an hour (bus-train-tube).

    4. Ponytail

      My commute is 2 hours each way because I live outside London on one side, and work in a part of London WAY over on the other side. My train service is fairly OK, and I always get a seat both ways. My top tip would be to work in the same location as your partner ! Oh, and audiobooks, podcasts and library books. I also paid for more data on my mobile, so I can use Spotify and Netflix.

      1. Discordia Angel Jones

        My husband has nearly that work situation (Kingston to Bermondsey!). When he’s gone on the train/tube it took him 2.5 hours. Cross-London commuting SUCKS. I remember once when I went to see friends in New Cross it actually took me 3 hours because I just missed each connection and had to wait for the next ones.

        TBH I don’t think I’ve ever worked in the same location as him, actually.

        I definitely increased my data plan when I was commuting on rail so I could watch Netflix and Now TV on the train. Now I don’t even use half of it (but my Wifi at home is bad and so I don’t want to get rid of it).

        1. Ponytail

          Ouch, that sounds grim. I’m lucky in that, as soon as I get into London, it’s one train all the way.

          Saying that, I’m happy to abandon working with my other half if my job application for a job 15 minutes from home is successful ! [crosses fingers]

  28. CaliCali

    I’m a SF Bay Area native (don’t live there anymore, but my SN does come from somewhere!), and though the traffic there isn’t as bad as LA, it’s certainly giving it competition. While a two-hour commute is definitely not unheard of, I wouldn’t call it NORMAL (I can only think of a small handful of friends and family living in the area who have that long of a commute). I would say 45 min-1 hr is normal. BUT I suppose the flip side is that for commuting 30 miles, it sounds about right. I live in the Denver metro, which is somewhat trafficky but nowhere near LA levels, and a 30 mile commute into/across downtown during rush hour will easily be 1-1.5 hours.

    So while I think there’s a few factors contributing here, I think it’s perfectly OK to not WANT a two-hour commute, and to figure out how to make your life easier on yourself.

  29. Genny

    My commute in the DC/MD/VA area is 90 minutes each way, with the possibility of sometimes being longer, but never shorter. I don’t love it, but I like where I live, I like that my method of commuting is relatively cheap (I could choose another method, but I’d pay significantly more to do so), and I like that taking public transit allows me to do other things with my commute time. It’s really all about what you’re willing to trade for a shorter commute. In most metro areas, that’ll mean much, much higher housing costs.

    1. Katastrophreak

      Yep. The husband drove in to DC for work for six years on 66. Shortest time was 50 min during winter break, average was 2 hours a day. It was 31 miles door to door.

      It’s just a matter of life in a major metro area.

      Now we live in a different state where distance is measured in minutes, and all our colleagues are amazed we would agree to a 45 minute commute. After 2 hours of bumper to bumper traffic, 45 minutes of highway speeds is amazing and we’re grateful.

    2. hermit crab

      Yeah, my husband currently commutes from Arlington to the Laurel/College Park-ish area. He mostly works an 11am-7pm schedule so his commute is only 45 min. each way – otherwise, it would be more than twice that, especially in the evening.

  30. all aboard the anon train

    Mine is a 15 minute walk, but I live in a city. When I had to commute via the subway, it was 20 minutes at most (I also live near three different subway lines). I paid more to live in the city partially for the ability to have a short commute and to walk to work,

    I did once have a coworker who used to commute from the Cape to Boston and that was 2 to 2.5 hours one way depending on the weather, but that was an unusual case.

    Honestly, long commutes are the reason why I refuse to look at jobs off public transit or outside the city. Recruiters seem to get annoyed when I say a 1 hour commute outside the city + potential traffic each way is too much of a hassle. I can’t imagine 2 to 2.5 hours each way, but I’m not surprised by it unfortunately.

  31. Bee Boo

    2 hours commute during rush hour in LA is completely normal. When I lived in LA, I worked off hours (usually 1pm-9pm) and still spent most of my drive not moving in traffic so what should have been a 30 minute commute was normally 1-1.5 hours. It’s one of the main reasons I left LA.

    It’s one of those things that you need to figure out what works for you. Sitting in traffic makes me miserable person to be around rest of the day. Right now I’m willing to make less money to work at a job with flexible hours (I work 7am-3/4pm) so I can avoid traffic. I have lots of friends who don’t mind traffic and are willing to siting in it for 1-2 hours each way a day to work at jobs they love. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another, so its important to figure out what works best for your sanity!

  32. Mkitty

    Alison’s absolutely right – what’s acceptable to you is what matters, not what your boyfriend considers acceptable.
    Also, are you able to use surface streets rather than freeways for your commute? I lived in downtown LA for 2 years and commuted to Culver City, about 12 miles away. If I’d done that commute via freeways, it would have taken at least an hour each way. Using surface streets cut the it down to about 35-40 minutes.

    1. paul

      That article *really* misses how inflated housing cost are in some urban centers. We looked at rent in the bay area (my wife was thinking about applying for some companies there) and noped out. We’ve got kids and paying 2k+/month for a 2 bed apartment anywhere within 45 minutes wasn’t happening. That’d be an increase of 1500/month vs what we’re paying for our house here (so 18,000 a year difference in housing cost, plus the fact you don’t get equity). Add in the higher tax rates, and general COL differences and we’d have needed to literally double our household income to get roughly the same quality of life.

  33. LSP

    For a while, my husband and I were both commuting in opposite directions from our house, each taking roughly an hour. The difference was really that my commute usually had just a quick moment of traffic right by my office (government office surrounded by lots of other government offices, with thousands of people all leaving at the same time), and his was about 20 miles closer, but stop and go the whole way!

    At the end of our commutes, we were both exhausted, but he was far more aggravated on top of that, due to the inherent frustration that comes with that kind of slow-moving traffic.

    I live on the east coast, and the stories I hear about LA traffic are enough to make me want to stay on this side of the country forever.

  34. Anonymous Poster

    This is one of those things that depends on you and your situation. Some folks could handle this and would be fine, and others are not okay with this sort of commute. It’s very specific to you.

    For context, I’m in the DC area and my commute door to door is roughly an hour on mass transit. I don’t mind it so much, because I can zone out while riding the subway and I’m not dealing with the stress of driving into DC everyday. I would feel very differently about this if I were driving everyday into the district. I can also take work with me onto the subway and turn part of my commute into my workday, and I can telecommute a day or two a week.

    You’ll just have to figure out what works for you, and is sustainable long-term. No one here can really give you that insight, and based on your letter, it sounds like this simply isn’t going to work.

    1. Christy

      Right–I’m in the DC area and the max I can handle is 60 minutes for a normal commute. My wife had a 90-120 minute commute for a year and change and it was almost unbearable. Right now I’m at about 45-50 minutes depending on metro waits.

  35. Atalanta0jess

    That’s a horrifying commute. I do 1:15 to 1:30 one way three times a week, and most people I know think that’s pretty horrible. (And I agree!)

    But also, screw normal. Normal can die in a fire. You don’t think you can do this much longer. That’s all you need to know.

  36. Cordoba

    I love driving but I hate commuting. I am willing to sacrifice in terms of living space and location in order to have a short commute. My longest commute in the last 15 years was about 5 minutes.

    I travel to coastal California a lot for work and find that many professionals there seem to think of a ~2 hour commute as fairly typical, and express disbelief at the idea that most commutes are shorter than a half hour.

    Their schedule typically works like this:
    Wake up at 5AM
    On the road by 6AM
    Arrive at work at 8AM
    Work until 5-6PM
    Home by 7-8PM
    Hang out for ~2 hours
    In bed by 9-10PM
    Get up at 5AM and do it all again

    This seems expensive and wasteful to me, both in terms of money and life. I encourage the LW to either move closer to work and/or to find a job with a shorter commute. Don’t worry about what is normal, just figure out what works for you.

    1. non-prophet

      We live in central NJ and my husband commutes to Manhattan. What you’ve described is pretty much my husband’s schedule. It is working for us because most of the commute is on public transit. He works, reads, or naps for the 4-4.5 hour round trip commute. We’ve considered moving closer. But honestly, we can’t figure out how to still live in NJ with under a 3-hour round trip commute. Moving closer to his job would mean being farther away from mine. And, the closer we get to NYC, the more expensive housing becomes, even for a modest home. We decided we didn’t want to pay 2-3x the housing costs that we’re paying now.

      This works for us, at least so far. And it’s not unusual for our area, but I understand why some folks would try desperately to avoid it.

      1. Cordoba

        I can definitely see where doing it on public transit would make this sort of commute much more bearable, as then what would be windshield time on a car commute can then be used for other more enjoyable/productive things.

        There are a lot of ways to answer the long commute question, it’s more about finding the right answer for your specific household than the one true Right Answer.

        My brother deals with a long commute by keeping a small rental room by his job so he can spend a couple nights each week staying near work rather than driving home every day. For many folks this probably would not work, but it seems to the best fit for his family.

  37. Jubilance

    I was a finalist for a job in the LA area a few years ago, and the advice I got from both friends as well as the internal recruiter was not to consider living anymore than 5mi from the office, unless I wanted to have a ridiculous commute.
    Do you have any ability to move closer to work? Or alternatively, find another job with less of an arduous commute?

  38. Mystery Bookworm

    OP, if you can’t quit (or even if you can) – I strongly advise you take steps to make your commute as nice and relaxing as possible!

    – You have no control over traffic. Accept this and stop trying to “beat” it.
    – You do have control over your car! Invest in it! That doesn’t have to mean a new car, it can mean things like a nice sound-system, snacks and sunglasses in the seat pocket, nice-smelling stuff if that’s what you go for. Patch up the seats if necessary. Keeping your car clean will probably also help a lot.
    – Find a way to make the time feel better. Splurge on Audible, or ad-free Spotify.
    – Experiment with routes and see if there’s some alternatives that work for you.

    But really – try to make sure your mindset on traffic is in a healthy place. If you feel like you’re competing with all the other cars on the road, you’re going to be in a stressed mindset that’s not contributing to safe driving or a happy day. Leaving a little earlier might be worth it if you find that it allows you to relax more on the road, even if it does increase the overall time.

    Best of luck!

    1. Irene Adler

      Thank you for this! I’m contemplating a long (1.5 hr) commute as part of my next job. I have 20 min commute now. Was just going to post a question about ways to make the commute bearable.

  39. Wannabe Disney Princess

    Mine is 40 – 45 minutes each way. And I hate it. There’s no way I could do 2 hours. Especially 2 hours in bad traffic. There’s not enough audiobooks or podcasts in the world to make that tolerable for me.

  40. ThatGirl

    I live in Chicagoland. My last job was 30 miles and a 45-minute commute on a good day and I worked 7:30 to 3:30. If there was bad traffic, bad weather, etc. it could easily be 90 minutes. The mitigating factor there was that I worked from home 2 days a week and had additional flexibility, otherwise it would have driven me insane.

    Now I am lucky to work 9 miles and 15 minutes from home and I love it.

  41. Future Homesteader

    In Boston, it took me 45 minutes (perfectly timed) to 1.5 hours (stupid Red Sox games) to make it the seven-ish miles from home to work. That was one train ride with a walk on both ends. I considered that a good commute – it was the shortest one I had the whole time I lived there. I think the only reason it was doable was because I *wasn’t* in the car, and I could zone out (and not having to make any connections was great).

    I straight-up moved back to the Midwest because that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my whole life, and it was a great decision. I actually have longer hours at my current job, but spend *less* time on work+commute.

  42. Reinhardt

    I would die with a commute that long! Around Chicago, my commute is a 30-40 minute drive from suburb to suburb (Schaumburg/Elgin to Mt. Prospect, for those who know the area). A bit longer than I’d like, but far preferable than the hour-plus I’d spend trying to get downtown.

    1. ThatGirl

      I drove from Lombard to Deerfield 3x a week for 5 years, at least yours is sort of a straight shot. I’m lucky to be a lot closer to work now.

      1. Reinhardt

        Definitely love the straight shot commute. Only two main surface streets (or I-90 and one surface street, but I try to avoid it because I hate tolls).

        Lombard to Deerfield is a haul, congrats on finding something closer.

  43. beanie beans

    Right now my commute is 45 minutes by bus, which I love. I’m job searching and having a hard time applying for companies that would put me in a car for longer than that or a bus for more than an hour. And it’s tough. I feel lame for being so picky, but that’s a LOT of time out of your life! Not to mention the stress of driving in traffic!

  44. DigDoug

    I’m in NYC. As the crow flies, my commute is 4 miles. It takes about 45 minutes – 30 minutes on the train and 15 minutes of walking.

  45. aes_sidhe

    Having never been to LA, are there no backwwys to get from one side of town to the other is the interstate the only way to go? If it’s an option to exit, I’d go for a longer way around just to keep from sitting it traffic for 2 hours.

    1. Mystery Bookworm

      There are plenty of routes you can take in LA to get from point A to point B. But they’ll pretty much all be crowded. If you get off the freeways and drive through the city, you’ll just get stuck behind red lights, pedestrian traffic and buses. So it’s really just not a place for people who struggle with patience with that sort of thing.

      1. aes_sidhe

        I would sincerely hate this commute. The only time I’ve ever gotten stuck in traffic in my commute is when there’s a wreck, and everyone decides to exit in one lump. The holidays also have the highway by my office all locked up during rush hour, and it took me an hour to drive 2.5 miles one year. Some of that travel long was hampered by the idiots ahead of me who decided to use the time to have an impromptu make out session, and I couldn’t get around them. A police officer happened to be going by them in the turn lane, and they got pulled over since the guy’s foot kept slipping off the brakes and almost hit the car ahead of him.

        I will say, with my patience level, I do okay stuck in traffic (red lights, pedestrians, etc.) so long as I’m actually moving. I guess the idea that I’m actually moving gives me the illusion that it’s not as bad as just sitting in traffic.

    2. SoCalHR

      and some of the back roads are in run-down or sketchy areas, depending on which part of LA you’re in. WAZE can take you on this back roads, and I agree, sometimes it does help to not go crazy from just sitting on a freeway, but it can be an adventure!

      1. aes_sidhe

        Sounds like where I live when you get off the interstate. The roads are bad (potholes that could eat a car), and all the ways to my suburb are sketchy. I just cross my finger and hope I don’t run into anyone too crazy.

    3. Anonymous Educator

      Freeways everywhere, and they’re all jampacked. That’s why the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is so funny (someone in the film thinks building freeways will make traffic jams “a thing of the past”).

    4. SL #2

      There is one (1) single freeway to get from the east side to the west side. I suspect OP is dealing with the notorious westbound 10 Freeway if a 2-hour commute is happening.

      I have to work in the area sometimes and I find it helpful to leave early, pick one of the major streets that stretches through from east to west, and just ride that all the way down. Sure, traffic lights are a bore, but sometimes it’s a little easier.

        1. SL #2

          It’s definitely not for everyone! My east coast transplant friends cannot fathom how LA natives do this day in and day out. But in my case, I’d lose my mind if you told me to go sit on a train or a bus for two hours with strangers everywhere you turn, creeps leering at you, and no privacy at all. When I lived in SF, the 45-minute ride from my apartment into downtown was already pushing it for me.

    5. stuck in traffic

      I drive from OC to Pasadena most Friday afternoons to help a family member. In the early afternoon, traffic isn’t bad and I can make it from Irvine to Pasadena in about an hour. Later in the day, though, it’s another stories. There are many freeways and roads between the two and I’ve tried every single one, and never gotten home in less than two hours. Also, as some mentioned below, many freeways go through sketchy areas and I would not feel comfortable exiting. It’s a problem of too many people, too many cars.

  46. Coldfeet

    If your boss likes to come in late, and stay late, could you do that as well? Instead of arriving early and leaving early, do the opposite (say 10:30am to 6:30pm).

    I’d still bring it up to your boss if that’s not tenable for you personally — there may be another work around, like you leave at 3pm but have a wireless headset in the car to direct calls, and you arrive before him every morning to finish the tasks left for you the previous evening.

  47. BRR

    My sister in law’s father lives in Calabasas and that’s his typical commute. I live in NJ and commute into NYC and my commute is roughly two hours door to door.

  48. Moonpie

    I definitely think the key is less “what does everyone in this area think is normal” and more “what am I willing to accept as part of my daily life”. I have a 45 minute commute 1-2 days a week and 10 minutes the rest of the days. Previously I had the 45 minute commute every day for 4 years. It was fine for a while, but that changed drastically when I had a baby and my schedule priorities changed. What had been no big deal became a stressor. I was able to change roles to something I actually love and stay with my employer, and the longer-commute days are definitely balanced out by the rest of the week. I don’t think I would ever consider more than 45 minutes for any job.

  49. Chriama

    These are my hard limits:
    by foot : 30 minutes
    by bike: 20 minutes
    by train: 1 hour with no transfers/switches
    by car: 25 minutes

    Anything else and I’m moving or getting a new job. But I know not everyone has that luxury. I just want to point out that “normal” doesn’t mean anything if you’re suffering so much. Do what’s best for you.

  50. TheTurtle

    Yikes, two hours one-way is too much for me. When I lived in Houston, my commute for 30 miles was about 45 minute-1 hour drive in the morning and 1.5 hour drive in the evening. I moved apartments as soon as I could and cut it down to a ten-minute drive. Now I live in Charlotte, NC, and my drive is 20 minutes (25 at the most.) I would say if you love your try, try to relocate. If not, find another job. That long of a commute isn’t worth your sanity.

    1. Penny

      I live in the Houston area (suburb & commute to the loop) and my job is 20 miles from me which is anywhere from 45 minutes- 1hr 15 minutes an an average day. Mind you the highway is 4-7 lanes wide at any given time plus 3 feeder road lanes! I’m fortunate to carpool which cuts it down to 25-45 minutes using the HOV lane, but that’s not always reliable especially when people have life changes. Public transportation is only a viable option if you work downtown.

      I went on a business trip to Charlotte one day and we had to drive to the airport during rush hour and I was freaking out we’d be late based on my experience with Houston rush hour traffic. But oh man, it was like Saturday traffic in the suburb I live in. I had no idea that kind of commute existed!

      So all that said, Allison’s advice is really the best. What can you sustain long term without living in misery? I can deal with an hour commute even thought I hate it because it’s pretty common in Houston. But 1.5-2 hours each way? No, I’d have to move or find another job! Honestly, the only person I knew who ever commute that far was an intern from a college town a couple hours away (and that shocked me that he’d do that each day). No idea if LA has decent public transit on your route, but you might check into buses, subways, or carpools (the company that operates our buses will try to help put together vanpools that commute to & from the same areas, so check LA’s bus website for that if interested).

  51. Teapot Engineer

    I feel your pain. I used to commute from Pomona to Pasadena, about 30 miles. My sister used to do Pomona to Glendale, but she luckily had an early start.
    I did figure out there were some things I could do to ease my commute:
    1) Public transportation: I would drive to a bus stop park-n-ride, then bus in
    2) Find evening activities in the area you work
    3) Go to gym in the area you work before you need to be at work. By working out early, you’ll miss the morning commute. Since your boss wants you to stay late, maybe you’ll miss the bulk of the evening traffic.
    4) See if you boss will allow a much later arrival when it rains. Ugh, rain in LA = the WORST.

    1. Teapot Engineer

      Opps….looks like you already work out in the morning.

      LA is opening new rail lines more frequently, so you might have a solution come up soon.

    2. SL #2

      Pomona to Pasadena is now a lot easier with the Gold Line extension! And it’s even got the added bonus of freeing up the Pasadena parking lots because fewer people are leaving their cars there, they’re leaving them at the Azusa stop.

  52. Who the eff is Hank?

    To add another data point, I live in New England and drive from a small city in one state to a large city in another state. The commute is about 60-75 minutes with no traffic, but can be upwards of 2 hours in bad traffic. My work allows me to flex my hours around my commute so that I never have to deal with rush hour.

    Before this, I lived in the large city I work in and my commute was about 45 minutes and a combination of walking and riding the subway.

  53. ALPA

    I’m in Atlanta, which is notoriously bad for commutes. For 8 miles I’m usually looking at 30 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the evening. I’m definitely one of the lucky ones!

  54. MuseumChick

    It’s not common but, sadly, is becoming more common. I recently watched a special on TV about “super commuters” defined as people who commute 90 minuets or more one way. They followed on one with a 3 hour commute one way!

    I don’t think there are any good options here for your.

    1) ask for a flexible schedule (which is say is unlikely to work)
    2) Move closer to your work (may not be possible)
    3) Start looking for a new job closer to you (also may not be possible)
    4) Look for a job is a completely different location with less traffic

  55. Parenthetically

    “A two-hour commute is normal.”

    “Cool story. It is making me miserable, therefore I am going to (look for another job closer to home, look for a place closer to work, move back to New York, something else that addresses the problem).”

    (Also your boyfriend constantly insisting that something you hate is “normal” is a preeeetty big red flag to me. Or a big red gaslight. Anyway, it is Very Uncool of him to hear your frustration and stress and downplay it like that. It’s worth a conversation, ASAP.)

    1. Jam Today

      I don’t see it as a red flag, I see it as an extremely valuable data point that he is providing her, namely “this is part of what it means to live here.” She needs facts in order to plan her life in a way that is maximally satisfying to her.

      1. Parenthetically

        Of course she needs facts. She also needs a supportive boyfriend who will help her problem solve, rather than dismiss her misery with “it’s normal, everyone deals with it, get over it.”

        1. Beatrice

          Yeah, if that was the tone, that sucks. I don’t think it necessarily was, though. As someone who moved from sunny Florida to the Midwest, I definitely had conversations with my Midwest-raised then-boyfriend that ran along the lines of “this amount of snow is very common and people do learn to drive relatively safely in it.” When you move somewhere very different, knowing the local norms helps you know what you might be able to get used to, and what people might expect of you if you don’t remind them that you’re new and your norms are different.

      1. Parenthetically

        “in any big city.”

        It’s pretty easy to demonstrate that this isn’t true just by reading this comments thread.

    2. Anonymous Poster

      How is it a gaslight? He’s sharing what people in the area generally consider a normal commute. He isn’t demanding that she conform to that and if she doesn’t change her mind, well then she must be a crazy person.

    3. k.k

      I think we’re being a bit unkind to the boyfriend here. All it says in the brief mention of his is that he’s insisted that it’s normal for the area. I imagined conversations like, “Two hours, isn’t that crazy!?” “It’s pretty normal here.” Nothing to suggest he’s pressuring OP to keep the job or insisting that she just get over it.

    4. SL #2

      Ehhh, no, I think it’s valid for the boyfriend to point out that a 2-hour commute is often normal in LA and the surrounding areas. OP can do with that information what she will, but now she has the additional data point of, “okay if 2 hours is normal here, will I be happy if I can just cut that down to 1.5 hours, however I can?”

      My best friend had a 2-hour commute. Her fiance had a 10-minute one because he taught at the neighborhood school. She pushed and they finally agreed to a compromise; they moved into LA proper, and her commute cut down to about an hour and a half while his commute extended to 25 minutes (he was going against traffic flows). That’s where I hope OP and her boyfriend will end up in the long term, but knowing what’s normal in a region and what actually isn’t is a useful bit of information. OP can’t expect her commute to go from 2 hours to 15 minutes because the boyfriend has told her that isn’t normal, but she can make reasonable decisions now on how to cut the commute down to a more acceptable hour or hour and a half.

    5. August

      Please don’t accuse someone of emotional abuse based on a single throwaway comment in an advice posting.

      1. BRR

        Yeah, seriously. He’s not off base saying it’s normal because it is definitely not unheard of in Southern California. The LW is entitled to not want to have a commute like that and there’s no information that the BF is pressing back against it by saying it’s normal.

      2. Parenthetically

        Eh. I said it raised a red flag for me and was worth a conversation. If OP reads this and thinks, “You know, that’s not at all the tone he’s using, and I don’t think he’s trying to convince me I’m foolish for feeling stressed about this,” then hooray.

    6. Tuxedo Cat

      The comment lacks compassion but I don’t see how it’s a big red flag.

      It is normal for some places. It sucks and it’s not great, but it sounds like the boyfriend is saying this is pretty much a problem no matter what job she has.

  56. Clorinda

    One hour for me, but that includes dropping off a kid at school. It’ll go down to 40 minutes when she’s in college. Two hours by car in traffic sounds utterly vile.

  57. Anon5

    I’ve had 5 minute commutes in West TX, 15 minute commutes in northern CO, 20-30 minute commutes in Albuquerque, NM, around an hour commute from rural central NM (to a 2 hour commute if I was attending class in Albuquerque that day), and 30 minute commutes in NE FL.

  58. Jam Today

    I live on the edge of Boston and have either worked in the city or had a ‘reverse commute’ for a decade, but given the whimsical nature of Boston/suburban road layout and our subway system in relation to where my apartment actually is, the shortest commute I’ve ever had has been 45 minutes door to door, usually closer to an hour. I remember interviewing in the Bay Area about seven years ago, and scouting potential living situations on the Peninsula, and found the worlds most amazing cottage in Pacifica. My commute would have been about 50 minutes, with the opportunity of a park-and-ride situation where half of that would have been on a train. I remember talking to the kids at the company (and they were kids) who were *horrified* at the idea of living so far outside the city, I was like babies it will take me less time than it does now *and* I won’t be spending 1/2 my salary on a tiny apartment. Double-win!

    1. CheeryO

      I interviewed for a job in Boston, and they actually brought up the fact that the office was horribly located for public transit and gave me some ideas for neighborhoods that would be semi-affordable and not completely terrible to commute from. I didn’t end up taking the job, but I thought that the honesty was nice – probably better than losing someone to the culture shock.

  59. stitchinthyme

    As others have said, doesn’t matter what’s “normal”. What matters is you’re miserable, so you should look elsewhere.

    My husband had a commute that often took an hour or more in the evenings. He liked the job okay, but he ended up leaving just because he couldn’t deal with the commute. It’s not just the length of the drive; it’s also how stressful it is, and sitting in traffic is always stressful.

  60. BottleBlonde

    My commute (in the suburbs in the northeast) is 45 minutes in the morning, 60-70 minutes in the evening. It’s only 12 miles but traffic is pretty bad in my area (and I’m only able to do it in this time because I avoid the highway – highway traffic could easily double the commute home on a bad day!) I’ve been trying to “reclaim” my commute time and think of it as time to recharge, listen to a podcast or audiobook, basically just enjoy myself as much as possible while sitting still staring at taillights. It’s kind of improved my attitude toward it on most days…but I still daydream of the days when I’ll be able to kick back with a movie while my self-driving car does all the work :)

    1. Penny

      Yes I am so on board for self driving cars just because of commuting!! I would love to be able to sleep or do my makeup or whatever beyond stressing over the traffic! I’d be on board with public transportation options too, but given how long those take to get funded & built, self driving cars are more likely to happen first. They just need to step up their game on safety.

      1. BottleBlonde

        Yes! I am all for better public transportation infrastructure – my coworkers are used to my bemoaning the US’s lack of a functional train system whenever I have to book a plane, shuttle, and car for a 400 mile business trip :) I am totally prepared to be an early adopter of self-driving cars though – as soon as there are safe options I can afford. I hadn’t thought of being able to do makeup/hair in the car in the morning – that would be divine!

  61. Nita

    This just doesn’t seem worth it, especially in the long term. I hope you can find a new job, or possibly leave the area altogether. It’s notorious for bad traffic and long commutes. It’s too bad you have a job where flex time or working from home would be very difficult!

    I did have a job with a two-hour each way commute once, but I only put up with it because one, no one else would hire me back then, two, it was temporary, and three, I didn’t have too many reasons to hurry back home. I also wasn’t driving – it was two hours on the train so I could relax, read, knit, sleep, whatever, and it didn’t feel like completely lost time. Right now, this would not work for me at all, unless I was commuting to a place where I’m eventually planning to move.

  62. Manic Pixie HR Girl

    Original Poster, glad you are in a position where you can make that decision. I had to do a 50 mile 1 way commute during a couple of limited stints a little over a decade ago (both from my mom’s – once was for a 6 month internship; the second time was for about 2 months when I was between housing in grad school), and those commutes ended up being 1-1.5 hours, depending on traffic. I walk to work now (20 min!), and though I’ll be moving soon, my commute will still be only a few short miles and bikeable, so about the same as it is now.

    I was going to suggest, shorter term, perhaps finding a gym you like close to where you are working, so as to cut down your commute time by either getting there early in the morning OR staying late to let some of the nonsense thin out. It would only help for one way, but it would still give you back an hour or so. You may want to think about this for your next position! Even if it is closer/more flexible.

    1. Original Poster!

      Yeah, I already do the gym thing. I get up at 4:30 am and go to the gym (40 min ride – there’s ALWAYS traffic but it’s not as bad that early). But at night… traffic honestly doesn’t clear up till like 7:30-8 pm here which is an hour before my bed time. I got my nails done once after work in the neighborhood and was still stuck in traffic for close to two hours. It was horrid.

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl

          I misread it, I thought she meant she was getting up that early to go to the gym and THEN commuting to work! I was thinking it would be easier if she did it near work … but she’s already doing that. Not that 3 hours as opposed to 4-5 is that much better. :(

  63. Hey-eh

    I’ve only done a 2 hr commute when I had an end in sight (I was living at home during an internship to save money, and the second time I was looking for an apartment so I was again living at home). I had to drive to the train, take a 1h10m train ride, then transfer to the subway to my office. It was horrible and I wasn’t even driving for most of it! Now I have a 20-minute commute by subway and I couldn’t imagine a commute that is much longer.

  64. HRM

    I’ve moved around quite a bit within my city with commutes ranging anywhere from 30 seconds (lived in the same building my office was in) to 45 minutes. I found anything over 30 minutes was just unmanageable for me. I now commute 25 minutes and it’s definitely doable, but I plan to move about 10 minutes closer to work as I need to get a new apartment soon anyway.

  65. Elizabeth

    It’s not unheard of, but it’s also not okay. My husband is currently in a similar boat (Long Beach to Burbank), so his commute takes 1.5-2 hours each way. He has a vanpool which makes it easier, but he is still out of the house for 12 hours a day. We, however, plan on moving to the valley (sigh) to fix it as soon as we can.

    Hour commute, though? That is sadly very normal out here (and that’s my current commute). You don’t have to accept it, though! Look for something new. It’s weird that your boyfriend’s response is, everybody’s doing it (we aren’t, I promise.)

  66. Bea

    Seattle commutes can be 2 hours for 30 minutes as well. It takes me 30 to get 10ish miles.

    30 miles in LA is epic, I shivered thinking about it. Welcome to the coast without much public transit

    1. tj bag dog

      im moving from just north of the city to queen anne in a few weeks, my 1+hr bus ride will turn into a 20 minute walk to work. im so excited.

      1. Bea

        That area has decent bus support too for the times you’re not feeling a 20 minute walk in the rain!

        I was commuting the equivalent of Bellevue to Shoreline for awhile. 30 miles of doom and gloom of 90 to Aurora, no good.

    2. Liz

      Yep. I commute from a northern suburb of Seattle down to Redmond every day (about 20 miles), and it takes me anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours each way, depending on the weather, accidents, etc. However, I used to commute down to South Lake Union every day, and the commute was easily 2 hours each way, sometimes longer. I make the most out of my commute today by listening to podcasts, and it doesn’t bug me at all, but when I moved here from the Midwest (where I had a 7 minute commute), I absolutely *hated* my commute every day.

      I think it’s worth considering whether the trade-offs are worth it when you’re dealing with a long commute. For instance, I could find a tiny box apartment close to work if I really wanted to have a short commute, but when I’m at home, I want to cook in a nice kitchen, relax in a living room with a big TV, have space for a home gym, etc. I’m willing to exchange a longer commute for the ability to live at home the way I want to. Other people make different choices, though, and that’s completely valid.

      1. Bea

        I just imagined the idea of renting one of those dreadful micro apartments that are essentially dorms with a built in hotplate for cooking.

        I remember days it took over an hour of just sitting on Westlake to Mercer to the 5.

        Also parking is my huge thing when picking a place to live. I’ll accept most tiny places but I need to be able to park and a guest will need to be able to park comfortably.

      2. Chameleon

        SOUTH LAKE UNION OoO

        I live in Federal way and when I was doing my grad school research in SLU it would often take longer to get from Westlake and Thomas to I-5 (~7 blocks) then from Downtown Seattle to Fed (~25 miles).

        Now I go south. Same distance, 90 minutes less.

  67. Aphrodite

    I haven’t read the other comments but yup, I’d say that’s normal. It depends on where you start and where you end up but I am not surprised. (I was born and raised in LA but now live in Santa Barbara; we have traffic jams at rush hour now too but of LA strength–yet.)

    If you are going to stay in this job consider moving much closer to your workplace. It will be easier in the long run.

  68. animaniactoo

    OP, when you lived in NY, there was a reason that you had a job in Soho and not in the Upper Bronx. Which is also within 30 miles of Bushwick. See what I’m saying?

  69. ENFP in Texas

    Unfortunately that is not unusual for LA. A lot of people, a lot of cars, not a lot of trains, and limited road options because of the terrain.

  70. Ann Perkins

    I’m in the Tulsa, OK area and our average commute is 20 minutes so 2 hours is absurd given my frame of reference. I even live in a suburb and commute to downtown and it’s only 15-20 minutes depending on what time it is. OP, I saw you’re putting in notice – good luck!

    Question for any of the CA commenters who have young children… how do you handle daycare with that sort of commute? Do you end up having to leave very early and arrive home at bedtime?

    1. stuck in traffic

      Somewhat staggered hours. One parent leaves for work earlier so he or she can leave work early enough to pick up the kid. The other parent leaves a little later and drops off the kid, but works later. It works, but cuts into family time together.

    2. Elizabeth

      It’s AWFUL. My husband (with the 2 hour commute) leaves before daycare opens, and gets home after it closes. I have been at my job longer, and have more flexibility, so I end up working 7.5 hour days when I go into the office 2 days a week (I have a 1-1.25 hour commute each way), and 9.5 hour days when I work from home. My daughter is almost always the first at daycare, and last to leave. It’s an awesome daycare, but we hate this. We plan on moving closer to my husband’s work as soon as we hit the 2 year mark of owning our condo and can sell it without being taxed. Once we live 20 min from his work, he can be responsible for drop off or pick up (or both!!!), and I will have some time for me again….

      What other people do is pick a daycare that’s closer to work than to home, but having our infant daughter in the car 3-4 hours a day isn’t a great option, either.

  71. Jessica

    I live in L.A. and both my husband and my commutes are 35-50 min. We would move if it were over an hour. Interestingly, I had the reverse situation as you–in NYC I found it more expensive to live and had a longer commute. While you’re driving here, it’s still similar to NYC in that it’s all about the minutes it takes, not the miles.

  72. Jilly

    I live in the DC metro area so long commutes are just the reality of my existence. At my old job I lived almost exactly 18 miles from my office. My morning commute could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours and that’s all within suburban Maryland going in basically a straight line down the highway. That’s just how I-270 is in the morning and rush hour starts around 4am because people are coming from way out I-70. Eventually I just gave in and didn’t even bother leaving until after 9am and getting in around 9:45 and staying until almost 7pm. In the evening, it was generally 45 minutes to an hour and fifteen. Now that I work in DC, I leave my house at 6:28am to catch a 6:35am train and get to work at 7:45am, but I take a commuter train and get to sleep for another 45 minutes. If I took the metro, the trip would be more expensive though it would take approximately the same amount of time, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep and the process wouldn’t be as pleasant: the commuter train has outlets at each seat, a bathroom or two, and food and drinks are allowed (even adult beverages if you are not disruptive).

  73. sesame plexer

    Ahhh!!! Okay so I live in Orange County and accepted a job based in Santa Monica with the intention of moving to there/west LA, only to find out the apartments in my budget were either dumps, in a bad area, or both. So I commute 50 miles and it takes 2 hrs+. Now luckily I have flexibility, otherwise there’s no way I could make this work. I’m sorry you don’t have that. LA traffic is 100% the pit of hell.

    1. Bea

      Every time I get salty about our COL I remember that California is above and far beyond. Nope nope nope. I’m scared to know how much Santa Monica costs these days.

        1. Bea

          Of course they are. I’m originally from a town that had $600 2 bedroom townhouses just 2 years ago. If I moved to the mountains, barring a resort town I found find the same I’m sure.

          The last time I was in Eastern Cali was going to Reno during Obama’s first run and Prop 8…I’ve never wanted out of somewhere so bad and I was just passing through. I’m sure they have super low costs though.

  74. Erin

    There was a thread in a Friday open thread awhile back where everyone shared their commute times: https://www.askamanager.org/2016/03/open-thread-march-18-19-2016.html

    I do think it’s more about what works for you than what the norm in your region is. What gets me about your situation is that your commute is all driving – if you were on a train or a subway you could at least multi-task with other activities. The best to hope for in the car is audiobooks and podcasts.

    Also, the fact that you’re stuck in traffic barely moving speaks to me too – that would be a huge factor for me. There’s a big difference between having an hour commute where you’re steadily moving the entire time and spending an hour in non-moving traffic.

    And your commute is *two hours*. Four hours out of your day, gone. That doesn’t seem sustainable or realistic.

    Is moving an option? If not, I would have a frank and awkward talk with your boss. Say you didn’t realize the reality of LA traffic and your current situation is not sustainable in the longterm, and what makes sense from here? Maybe he’ll approve your working from home a couple days a week to a least cut down on the commute, or come up with another solution you haven’t thought of. Or maybe it means you start job searching, ideally being up front about that if possible, so it can be a smooth transition with you helping to hire and maybe train your replacement and him acting as a reference for you.

    1. Anonymous Educator

      I do think it’s more about what works for you than what the norm in your region is.

      Also, a “norm in your region” doesn’t mean you have to have that commute if you live in that region.

      Someone I knew moved to LA shortly after college and lived there for almost 15 years. In the beginning, he had these super long commutes. By the time he left LA, he had only a 15-minute drive to work… because he’d arranged his life that way (so that his job and his apartment were close to each other).

      Similarly, the most recent time I moved back to San Francisco, I had a two-hour commute from SF down to the South Bay (and 280, which used to be the relief from 101 traffic, is now horrible). Guess what I did? I got a new job. Now my commute is 25 minutes on one bus. I still live in San Francisco.

      So, yeah, something can be typical for a region, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave the region to get a better commute. Move your residence closer to your job, or get a job closer to your residence.

  75. Ali G

    DC-area here.
    My old job was a 40-45 min drive (but it was only about 15 miles) – and that was going against traffic for at least half of the drive. The same commute by public transit would have been 1.5-2 hours (with a transfer) minimum.
    But around here it’s very common for people to live 30-40 miles (or more) away and commute in by car or train for up to 2 hours. I wouldn’t do it. For me the cost of living is a trade off I am willing to take to not spend my life commuting.
    For my next job I am trying very hard to not have to cross the river. Since there are only so many routes, that is the main pinch point. It’s limiting my job search, but I know I will be happier for it in the long run.
    Good luck to you – I hope you can find something without such a hard commute!

    1. Pseudo-Fed

      DMV here as well.

      Yes, staying on one’s own side of the river is key. I commute from NoVa to DC; the drive is 25 miles and takes 60 to 90 minutes. If it’s a Friday in the summer, or before a long weekend, it can even be less than an hour. Taking the Metro is consistently 90 minutes, except for that time last week when there was smoke in the tunnel and it took 3 hours.

      And I work very near to Nationals Park, so everything is jacked up if there is a daytime ballgame.

  76. music

    I wonder if this person is being a little wistful about about their time in new york, too? No way does bushwick to soho happen in 45 minutes. So maybe they’re shaving some time off to make the LA one seem even worse in comparison? (Not that it needs to be made to sound worse, but there may be a grass-is-greener situation happening where they think about their old life)

    1. Not a Real Giraffe

      You can absolutely take the M train from Bushwick to Broadway-Lafayette in under 45 minutes.

  77. annalisa karenina

    Commutes in more congested cities are like that, unfortunately. When I lived in Houston, my commute was just under an hour, but I was only going 4 miles door to door so… At one point it was ~2 hours, but then I was living a whole 15 miles away.

    Now, where I live (Alabama) my commute is like 10 minutes.

  78. Filicophyta

    That sound horrible. I lived in Tokyo for years and 90 minutes-two hours is common but that is by train so you don’t have to pay attention. Some people sleep (completely safe to do there) and it’s great to see how many read books. But driving – that’s long.
    I’ve been lucky in that I’ve very often lived walking or bicycling distance from work (although my definition of ‘bicycling distance’ is probably a lot longer than other people’s). But I’ve done the 90-minute standing each way commute too. And lived places where the only safe way home after dark was a taxi. (Luckily co-workers lived in the same street to share cost.) The worst might have been a twenty minute commute that required three different trains, travelling in a ‘U’ shape. I spent as much time changing trains as travelling.
    All our commute stories don’t help you much.
    Can you carpool with anyone so that some days you can relax?
    Do you have a backup plan in case you are just too tired to drive home safely some night? Be safe.
    And as AAM said, normal or not, what can you handle?

    1. Filicophyta

      Not that anyone cares but I’m in staff housing again and my current commute is about four minutes walk. I think it’s a record.

  79. Susan the BA

    I would factor in both the time of the commute and the variability. Husband has a drive that’s almost always about 55 minutes and much prefers it to a previous commute that was shorter on average could be anywhere from 30-90 minutes. Sure, it was nice to sometimes get home “early” but being able to reliably plan dinner cooking, meeting up with friends, errands and appointments, etc fits much better into our life.

  80. StressedButOkay

    Unfortunately, as the cost of housing rises in major cities, more people are living outside of them, meaning more traffic. Here in the DC area, a 45 – 60 minute commute is generally the norm but it’s not unheard of for people to face a 1.5+ hour commute.

    I did it myself for about 4 years – I simply could not afford to live in or around the District so I lived 40 miles outside the city and, on a good day, I was facing a 1.5 hour commute. (I had a part time flexible schedule and worked out super early near work on the days I did not to avoid the worst of the traffic. Ultimately, I had to change jobs because the commute was too much.)

    But what everyone is saying is true – this might be not as uncommon as you think but if it’s not right for you, it’s time to look elsewhere for a job that’s closer or has flexible scheduling.

  81. Anne of Green Tables

    Two hours each way is a totally normal commute for the Los Angeles area even before I left it a decade ago. The folks with less traffic during their commute hours consider 1.5 hours not bad. Of course you can always try to live closer to work, but the rental/real estate prices seemed to be much higher in areas that could shave off travel time.

    The San Francisco Bay area is similar, even with having many more public transport options. People often get priced out of the living areas close to work. Best day scenario for a friend of mine is 1.5 hours Concord to downtown.

    My commute in Sacramento is 20-30 minutes average. I’d change jobs to avoid more—sitting in traffic slays my zen.

    1. Anonymous Educator

      even with having many more public transport options

      Just because our public transit options in the Bay Area are better than the ones in LA doesn’t mean our public transit options are actually good, though!

  82. Boo

    I commute a total of 4 hours a day to London from my home town.

    But I think the question here is not what is “normal”, but what works for you and whether the overall benefits of the job outweigh the cons. I put up with my commute because my previous local job was incredibly toxic and I feel incredibly grateful to have found a workplace where I and my role are respected and valued, and I have opportunities for progression and professional development. For me, that makes the commute worth it – for now. This won’t always be the case, and eventually I will outgrow my role and probably be priced out of commuting – at which point I will probably have to move house, since there are no good jobs local to me.

    1. Boo

      (I should also add that my commute is a combo of walking/bus/train/tube – I think a 2 hour commute driving where you can’t switch off and read or shut your eyes is a very different kettle of fish)

    1. Shannon

      For a 60-mi. rt commute, it would definitely shave time off, but it would only be workable if you LOVE bikes. If you’re interested in going that route, Lunacycle is an ebike manufacturer based in El Segundo that you could visit. Or you could make a post on the Los Angeles subreddit; there’s someone there that could build you an ebike for ~$2000.

    2. pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

      Los Angeles is not only not really “bike friendly”, in fact it is quite a bit bike hostile. Even if you ignore that a more or less direct route from (for instance) Huntington Beach to LA (30 miles) would take the OP through some pretty dangerous areas, like Compton, so cal drivers tend to be hostile to bicyclists in general, and the communities do not have well maintained or even designated bike lanes.

  83. OtterB

    DC area. Commute time depends largely on when I leave: if I leave home at 6:30 am, it takes 30 minutes; if I leave at 7:30 am, it takes 45 minutes, and if I leave at 8:30, it takes an hour or more. The return trip is about 45 minutes if I leave before 5:00 and an hour if I leave after. Counterintuitively, mid-day is often worse than rush hour because there are more parked cars and often lane closures for construction of one kind or another. This is driving – Metro is about 45 minutes each way including walk time on both ends, but I’ve mostly quit doing that.

    The joke among stats nerds around here is that the problem isn’t the mean, it’s the standard deviation. Meaning that a small problem of some kind can bump travel time way, way up and you never know. So if I need to be at the office for an early meeting, or I need to pick up a kid somewhere, I try to allow at least an extra half hour, and more if the weather might be iffy.

  84. Llama Grooming Coordinator

    I mean, I’m screaming inside and my commute is regularly an hour and a half! On public transportation! I couldn’t imagine driving that much.

    (Okay, it’s usually 5-10 minutes to walk to the train/grab coffee, 30-45 minutes on the train to Hoboken, then either PATH to my office (~10-20 minutes, then walking 10 minutes) or Citibike (~5 minutes on light rail, ~15 minutes biking, 5 minutes walking). It takes longer by bus from Hoboken or Secaucus to my office.)

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        You get used to it. Plus, having a long train ride means I can actually relax on the train – I get on early enough that I always have a seat.

  85. Hey Karma, Over here.

    Yeah, so when I worked down town, it would take 40 minutes to get in but 15-20 to get home. I would text my friend/workers a picture of myself sitting on my couch at 5:20, while they were still at the subway stop. They moved the office 25 miles out of town, got a pic of my coworker who chose to stay home with the kids. :)
    But since it’s against traffic, it’s 25-30 minutes of highway driving. I’m a fan, since parking is now free, but if it were longer, I’d be out.
    OP, this is unsustainable. Good luck!

  86. Koala

    I once had a job where, about a month after I arrived, my boss decided instead of working on the main site (lovely building, 10-minute walk from my flat, in a fun, vibrant city), I’d spend 80% of my time at an alternative site.

    Alternative Site was literally in the middle of nowhere. Even if I could have found housing, NO WAY was I willing to move there. I — like everybody else who ever had to work at Alternative Site — commuted.

    2.5 hours each way.

    The only saving grace was that a lot of this commute was by public transport (Europe is amazing), so on my morning 1.5-hr bus ride I’d sleep, and on my evening 1.5-hr bus ride I’d read.

    If I’d had to drive for 2.5 hours each way, I’d be a very sad puppy. I’m sorry, OP.

  87. Time to get that arranged marriage my parents want

    I don’t think I’d be able to handle more than half an hour driving. And public transportation would be an hour MAX. My cousin does two hours each way – I don’t see how you could maintain a proper amount of sleep and/or a social life with that.

    1. Time to get that arranged marriage my parents want

      *My cousin commutes from the edge of the surrounding New York Metro Area to the city.

  88. LA resident

    Angeleno here and definitely not. I would say 45-60 minutes seems to be the norm among my colleagues with a few outliers either way. Most of of commute by car during typical rush-hour traffic is that helps

  89. Mine Own Telemachus

    I’m in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the commute can stretch into 90 minutes if you’re going from one city to the other. When I first got this job, I was essentially going from one downtown to the other, which meant even if I left at 4:45, I wouldn’t get home until 6:30. I’ve since moved to Minneapolis to be closer to work, and now my commute is an easy 20 minutes door to door. I could walk from my place to work if I wanted, which is very convenient.

    I’ve done the long commutes before and they’re just not worth. By the time I get home, half the evening is gone and my cat is hungry and I don’t feel like doing anything.

    1. Not a Real Giraffe

      This is interesting to hear! I am looking to relocate next year and Minneapolis is in my top 5 cities. I’d love to know more about working/living there. Maybe in the Friday Open Thread?

  90. Properlike

    I used to live in LA – got a job in Santa Monica and commuted from the Valley. 1.5 hours each way. This is how I discovered audiobooks. Sorry to say, if you’re committed to staying in LA, very few commutes are going to be short. Nature of the area, which outsiders don’t understand, and there are no “off” times unless it’s the middle of the night. Joke was that it would take 45 minutes to get anywhere. I think it’s now an hour fifteen.

    1. SL #2

      I could tell so many stories about the times where out-of-towners (friends, relatives, etc) think I can get them from Silverlake to the coast in 30 mins because “it doesn’t look that far on Google Maps!”

      I used to be more polite about it but now I just laugh in their faces.

      1. Evan Þ.

        Yep; we discovered that the hard way last year while visiting my uncle in Palos Verdes. “Oh, we’ll be able to visit Griffith Park, no problem” – well, we visited it, but it took a lot longer than expected.

        1. SL #2

          Ouchhhh. My aunt lives in Palos Verde. It’s gorgeous out there. But it’s not close to Griffith Park at all.

  91. MCL

    It looks like OP has already made the decision to quit. Good luck, OP!

    My spouse and I are in a situation where I have an awesome practically door-to-door public bus commute that takes about 20 minutes, but he drives to work and it takes him 45-60 minutes. We live in a not-overly-big Midwestern city, but unfortunately the placement of the home we own and his workplace means he has a fairly miserable drive. Since he’s from a smaller town, he never really got used to commuting and hates it passionately. He is planning to stay at his job for a while, so we are in the early stages of looking to move. The challenge is to find something that will be better for him but also public-transitable for me. I could drive, but parking at my workplace is expensive and we’d have to buy a second car on top of everything. But to alleviate his stress levels, it’s worth it to us to move to a location that will shorten and ease his commute. In the mean time, he goes in pretty early and leaves early (like 7 – 3) in order to avoid some of the worst of the traffic.

  92. Leenie

    I used to have a 15 mile LA commute that was never less than 45 minutes and would reach 2 hours at least a couple of tines a week. That was years ago. I think it’s worse now. Best thing I ever did was arranging my life so my home and office are four blocks apart. But that is an unimaginable luxury around here.

  93. pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

    That sounds completely normal. I’ve lived in the greater LA area my entire life — traveling from the eastern edges of the county westward into LA — and a 2-3 hour drive into the downtown area has always been the “normal” in my experience. The commute from north/south might be different. A big difference for the NYC person is that So Cal has lots and lots of space to sprawl (so we did — pushing “living” spaces and “working” spaces further and further apart) and we are car obsessed. LA does have public transportation systems, HOV lanes and toll roads to help ease traffic, but they are really inefficient, inadequate and expensive as you get further away into the suburbs so there isn’t a big incentive for people to use them.

    1. Magenta Sky

      The big difference is that NYC (and most of the big cities in the northeast) were big cities before autos became common. LA was not, and became a big city as autos became something that everybody could afford. NYC had an incentive to grow *up*, where LA had more incentive to grow *out*.

      (The other big difference is that NYC is built on ground well suited to subways, where LA is built on geologically unstable, wet sand. Public transportation was never an option here.)

      1. pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

        In the east coast big cities I also think that they are more psychologically inclined to live IN the city itself — not just because of necessity but also there doesn’t seem (from my limited perspective on the west coast) to be a big social stigma attached to it. I realize it’s a bit hyperbolic but almost nobody (relatively speaking) has a home in Los Angeles (city) — they live in thousands of surrounding communities in the greater LA area and where you live has a lot of class distinctions. IN the city would probably mean lower income, with a few exceptions. And again psychologically we love our cars and the freedom to move about on our own schedule — so even if they spend the money to improve the public transport system (there is a big push in that direction to add more lines to the Metrolink train system), the people who have the privilege to choose, aren’t inclined to choose public transportation.

        1. Magenta Sky

          That’s part of it, but the history plays a big role. It’s far more difficult to live close to work in southern California, because residential neighborhoods just weren’t built close to business districts or manufacturing districts or wherever the jobs were – because everyone had cars. It’s hard to tell if people choose the ‘burbs because of the stigma, or if the stigma is the result of people choosing the ‘burbs.

        2. Leenie

          I feel like that’s a pretty massive misconception. The city of LA is a sprawling behemoth. I live in West LA and used to live in Westwood – those might sound like suburbs, but they’re actually LA proper (controlled by LA city council and mayor). You’d be incredibly lucky to find a single family home in my neighborhood for low 7 figures, but it is absolutely LA proper. You can’t really apply a typical city center/white flight suburb model to LA. Not that I’m saying that there hasn’t historically been white flight – but it happens in pockets instead of concentric circles.

        3. Leenie

          You should see the housing prices in LA proper. I think you’d be shocked. Distant suburbs are lower income than most of the city. There are certainly lower income pockets in the inner city, but you can’t really apply the typical city center/suburb model to our sprawling behemoth.

        4. Leenie

          Oh darn it – my first comment didn’t show up, so I tried again and now it just looks like I’m repeating myself! Sorry!

  94. What's with today, today?

    I had a friend complain today that her normal 50-minute drive to and from work is more like 90 minutes right now b/c of traffic. Mine is about 10 minutes in the worst traffic, but that is because I live in a tiny little town.

  95. Anon California

    That is normal for L.A., I am sorry to say!

    I live in Sacramento and commutes are better here than in L.A. or the Bay Area, but it is getting worse. Public transit is not that amazing, especially if you are outside the city core. I have a 10-15 min drive to/from work. If I take the bus, it’s an hour and takes two buses + one mile walk. It’s actually faster for me to bike (either all the way, or do bike + bus) than busses +walk, so when it is feasible, I’ll often do that.

    1. pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

      OMG. I’m in LA area and have decided to only use Waze if I’ve feeling “adventurous”, have a full tank of gas, and my common sense has taken leave of me. Three times now Waze has decided to reroute me (traveling from south Orange County north to eastern LA County area) away from the 5 FWY and up through Santiago Canyon Road…at midnight… so that I can shave 2 minutes off my drive.

    2. Bea

      I’m wary of any directions and side streets not given to me by locals. I don’t want to get into trouble rolling through the wrong area because of an app trying to save me time.

      Maybe I’m super paranoid after all the time spent in questionable neighborhoods in my wayward LA youth. My gf at the time, her dad would watch all the cop chases and I hit the floor a few times because I know what gunfire sounds like. Nope nope nope.

  96. Magenta Sky

    I’ve lived in Orange County for 35 years. 2 hours isn’t “normal,” but it’s not unusual. We had a store manager for a while that worked in Irvine and lived in Hemet (because that’s the closest he could afford to buy a house), and spent at least six hours per day driving, sometimes more. Most years, five of the 10 busiest freeways in the world are on southern California.

    For me, I pay about 25% more in rent to live in the same (beach) city as I work, vs what I could pay if I moved inland and spent more time on the road. But I’ve done the 1.5+ hour commute for years at a time.

    The alternatives are to a) get a job closer to home, or b) get a home closer to work. Southern California isn’t well suited to either.

  97. SL #2

    Your boyfriend’s in the right on this one. It takes me about 45 minutes to get 12 miles to work when I leave at 7:30 AM. My best friend lives 25 miles from her work and leaves early. It’s easier when LAUSD is on their various school breaks and also during the summer, but 2 hours to get 30 miles actually sounds normal and about right, depending on which freeways you have to take.

    However, you have to decide for yourself whether or not this is okay with you. It’s not like you have to accept this as just the way it is and keep this job if you really can’t stand being in your car for two hours; if you’re able to find a job closer to your home, or along a slightly less-trafficked freeway, that could cut your drive time drastically.

    Source: I grew up in LA, have lived here nearly my entire life, and am currently working here. I currently live in a suburb 12 miles out from downtown, where my office is. For anyone looking to move to LA for a job, you really, really have to think hard about where you’ll be living in relation to where this job is. Public transit simply isn’t accessible enough for most people and most jobs here (although it’s gotten easier, now that the Expo line is open and stretches to Santa Monica).

  98. Connie-Lynne

    I want to point out that the OPs situation and the article Alison links to is Apple’s to oranges.

    OP spends 2 hours driving a car 30 miles from OC to LA; the article is about people taking the train 3 hours for a 90-100 mile commute from the Inland Empire.

  99. Mimmy

    That commute would not be tolerable for me. I used to do a 2+ hour commute for an internship, but it was because it involved multiple public transit connections–it was not pleasant. Thankfully, the secretary graciously offered to begin picking me up at the nearby train station, cutting my commute by about 40-45 minutes. Still long, but more tolerable.

  100. MarketingGirl

    For a city, 30 miles seems like a lot! Most people I know live within 10-15 miles of their job in my city, but it will still take them an hour to an hour and a half. When I move 5 miles further, I will need to switch jobs because that extra 5 miles will add an hour to my commute. It’s all a tradeoff…

  101. Goya de la Mancha

    bah! I barely tolerate my 10 minute commute. Hats off to those who can stand commuting long periods like that. I think if I were able to do public transportation, a longer commute would be more tolerable, but obviously not ideal.

    Echoing all the other sentiments of “normal is not necessarily ok or sustainable”. If this job allows you the finances/time to travel, do things you love – then it’s something you have to take into account. If it’s just a paycheck….I’d be looking elsewhere or to move.

  102. WillyNilly

    Your commute time hasn’t changed to worse from NYC to LA, your commute distance did. Soho to Bushwick is about 6 miles, it took you about 40 minutes. You now go 30 miles, 5x further. 40 x 5 = 200, or over 3 hours.

  103. chocoholic

    My commute is probably 45 min door to door. This includes driving to the park-n-ride, parking, walking to the bus, sometimes waiting for the bus, riding the bus, walking to my office. If the bus is right there, it is a little quicker. It is doable for me, and I’m not driving that entire time. If I for some reason arrive at the park and ride after 8am, it can take forever to find a place to park and that will increase my commute. Plus after 8 or 9 am, the buses don’t come as often.

  104. Not Maeby But Surely

    I agree w/ Alison – whether it’s normal or not has no bearing on whether it works for *you*. I can sympathize. DH & I live in the Midwest (i.e. not an area where long commutes are typical) and moved out of town to save money about 18 months ago. On a good day, our commute (we ride together/share a car) is an hour. Bad traffic day, more like 75 minutes. After this long of doing that drive, I am very resentful of losing those 2-2.5 hours of my life five or more days a week. We’re trying to move up our moving plans by several months because of this. I want my time back!

  105. Corinne

    It’s normal if you live in the Valley and work in West LA. I live in West LA about 5 minutes (on a good day) from my office (but I take the bus so it’s a little bit longer). Of course, I also spend more and make more sacrifices to afford it. If you don’t want to drive for 2.5 hours in LA, I hen you need to live closer to where you work unfortunately. 30 miles is very far for LA commuters.

  106. SmallCog

    This is “normal,” but it’s not sustainable. I have a =/- 1.5 hour one way commute right now, due to economic factors – turns out housing close to work is crazy expensive, who knew? However, I am clear that this commute is bad for me, bad for my family, and I’m going to do everything possible to move closer to work. I have no life outside of work, and for me this is not sustainable. However, realistically, I might not get what I want. But I assume I have fewer choices than you do – I have kids, I have a job I won’t leave, I have limited money and live in a crazy expensive area. If any of those were different, I’d change jobs or areas for a better commute.

  107. Aunt Helen

    I live on the east side of LA with a 10-mile commute. It takes 15-20 minutes most days, never more than 30 in heavy traffic. You can’t sustain a lifestyle with that level of time wasted and frustration building behind the wheel. After some time living in this city, you’ll get more familiar with neighborhoods and traffic patterns, and you’ll be able to strategize how to cut that commute down – either moving to a closer area to your work, taking a new job closer to your home, or adjusting your commute times to non-rush hours. (None of this is easy in LA, but it’s the only solution for long-term happiness.) Regardless of whether it’s “normal” (and it doesn’t have to be), a 2-hour commute isn’t right for YOU. I wish you luck adjusting your circumstances to something that works for you!

  108. Quickbeam

    For the right job, I once commuted 3 hours a day (round trip) and 150 miles a day. The trade offs were the unique work opportunities in my field and a 4 ten hour day schedule. I did that for 10 years. The traffic in was non-existent but the end of day traffic was horrible. This is in the midwest US, to a state capital.

    Now I commute 10 miles in 15 minutes, each way.

  109. voluptuousfire

    My commute from my outer borough is roughly 70-90 minutes one way. I take an express bus, so with traffic, it can be 2 hours one way. For some fellow locals, it’s a major stressor but it doesn’t bother me much. I zone out or just watch a movie on my phone or just sleep.

    I read an article on I think the Gothamist about people who travel from Philadephia to NYC roundtrip daily. Philly is much cheaper than NYC and their salary in NYC was still attractive enough to commute several hours each way. The drive from Philly to NYC is about 1:40 so in the end it’s really not much different than if you commuted in from Long Island/the outer banks of the outer boroughs.

    1. Muriel Heslop

      My friend’s uncle did this for almost 30 years! He commuted from Chester County to Manhattan by train. He said as long as he was on the train the commute flew by and they had a great quality of life in PA.

    2. Millennial Lawyer

      People commute 2 hours *within New York* if they can’t move and need to keep a particular job.

  110. Adlib

    My longest commute was when I first started working, and it was just over an hour each way. Even then I thought I had no time for anything outside of work! I moved to the city, and it went down to 15 minutes. My longest since then was 45 minutes driving across town even during rush hour. Thank goodness for small Midwestern cities! I didn’t love it, but it wasn’t too bad since it wasn’t a straight-up crawl unless there was an accident. (By comparison, my father has commuted an hour+ for 38 years. He’s finally retiring this year.)

    Now I work at an office 15 minutes away and could go full time from home if I wanted. If I change jobs again, I probably won’t accept anything less.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re going to leave, OP. This kind of commute sounds incredibly draining! Hoping you get another job soon and closer to home!

  111. tink

    This seems not-that-abnormal based on things my southern CA based friends have said about their commutes.

    We’re in Texas, but right now my partner’s commute by transit is 2 hours each way… so I take him in the mornings, which makes the commute for him 30 minutes but easily 70-90 minutes for me round trip, plus my own 10 minute commute to work. (And this is why we’re moving when our lease is up, because I can handle 45 min each way by car if it means I get to sleep another hour.)

  112. Bikirl

    Los Angeles’ mass transit is currently undergoing a massive expansion. Hopefully these new transportation options will benefit commuters like OP.

  113. Green Tea Lover

    It’s normal if you are going into West LA or OC (and that you are not going against traffic). My 20 mile commute to Santa Monica is on average 1 hr 20 mins (on bad day, 1 hr 40+ mins) so unfortunately, while this is not the national norm, I think it is a norm in SoCal.

  114. Colorado CrazyCatLady

    The commute is one of my top criteria in deciding whether or not to take a job. Right now, I work from home, but the longest commute I can reasonably handle is 30 minutes. The thought of commuting for 4+ hours a day is unfathomable to me – a certainly unsustainable!

  115. PuppiesKittensIceCream

    OP, I live in a suburb outside of NYC. My home is only 31 miles away from my office, and my commute takes me 1.5 hours door to door on a good day (no railroad or subway issues). I feel for you. I often fantasize about either getting a job closer to my home or getting an apartment closer to my work.

  116. BlueWolf

    DC area here. My commute is about 40-45 minutes going into the city (shuttle to metro, then about 25 minute metro ride assuming no delays). Leaving work it is a bit longer because my shuttle only runs every 30 minutes, so I usually have to wait a bit. Driving would be too stressful. With no traffic it would be about 20-25 minutes, with traffic it could be 45 minutes or longer of gridlock, plus parking is expensive.

  117. Spooky

    I’ve had between an hour – 1.5 hour commutes for most of my working life, along with nearly everyone I’m close to. 1 hour is pretty standard. I’m currently in NYC and was previously in Atlanta, both notoriously big cities with bad traffic. At one point, my ATL commute was 2 hours each way, and that was a bit much. But I’m absolutely gobsmacked to see “26 minutes”…that’s far outside the norm for anyone I’ve ever even been friends with in the US.

  118. Blue Cupcake

    It doesn’t matter if it’s normal or not. It is what it is for each individual. At my workplace, it goes from a 10-15 minute walk to up to 2 hour or more drive. Some employees live in the next state because a beautiful house is cheaper there, but no jobs. We all have to make decisions in life.

    Each individual needs to decide if the can live with it, quit, move, or suck it up for the paycheck.

    1. Millennial Lawyer

      Exactly. In fact, note to OP, in NYC there are plenty of people who commute 2 hours because they have to in order to afford rent.

  119. Jake

    I used to have a 65 minute commute for my first professional job. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started having 25 minute commutes at my next job and 10 minutes after that.

    Chances are that the boyfriend isn’t trying to be a jerk here (even though he clearly is being one!). If he doesn’t know any different, it won’t seem that bad.

  120. Anon Today

    This is one of the major reasons (along with housing prices) that I refuse to live in places like LA, Atlanta, Dallas, etc., places with horrendous traffic and poor public transportation.

    I’ll take my smaller midwestern city (metro population of about 2.5 million) where I can get to work in less than 30 minutes and I don’t need to sell a vital organ so that I can afford to buy a house or rent a decent apartment.

  121. It’s All Good

    Yes close to normal for a lot of So Cal. For almost 3 years my commute was 4 hours daily and another commute was 3 hours with a toddler buckled in the car seat ☹️ I needed her day care to be close to my work because of emergencies. Luckily she was a low key kid who enjoyed listening to music.
    I hope you find a great job that is closer.

  122. New Window

    “Normal” is not the same as “reasonable.” Anything can become normal if enough people do it, like spending 90% of your waking, non-work hours sitting in a shiny metal box stuck on a road, but that doesn’t mean it’s a reasonable thing to accept.

    That commute is costing you more than four hours a day stuck in traffic:

    – It costs you the hours you would have spent preparing meals, doing errands, taking care of your house/apartment.

    – If you have pets, it costs them lost time to spend with you to get attention, be played with, be exercised.

    – It costs you hours you could have spent with friends or getting to know people who would become friends.

    – It costs you hours of pay that have to be diverted to higher car maintenance expenses.

    – It costs you weekends when you don’t go out and do much because you’re so tired and just want to stay out of the car for once.

    – It costs the community when you don’t have the energy at the end of the day/week to get involved in groups or organizations that could have gained from your presence and contribution.

    You already know it’s unsustainable for you, OP, and I’m glad you’ve noticed that. I hope your boyfriend becomes more supportive, and that it won’t be much longer before you get a job with a commute that allows you to have a life.

    Signed,
    A survivor of a 2-2.5 hour one-way commute who has sworn off long commutes ever since

  123. Lilo

    Yeaaaa id say a 30 mile by car commute is risky no matter where you live, especially if it’s a major city and ESPECIALLY if it’s somewhere like LA.

    I used to live in a northern suburb of chicago and commuted 30 miles to the south side of the city by car (public transit wasn’t an option because of the areas it would take me through to get there). On days with very light traffic (aka bank holidays), going a steady 45-55 mph the whole way, it would take me about 45 mins. On a snow day when schools were closed, i was looking at 2.5-3 hrs. So, a typical commute for me was about 1.5-2 hrs and it absolutely did wear on me. I only lasted about 9 months in that job and left to avoid a complete mental breakdown. I think a long commute driving wears on you much much more than,say, public transit where you can work on other things.

    My advice is to either find a new job or move. It will very unlikely get better, and has the potential to have a huge impact on your mental health and well being. My sympathies OP

  124. Looooong Commute

    Many of my coworkers did Inland Empire to LA (30-50 mi). I did OC to LA (~45 mi) for 5 years. Most coworkers drove but some, including myself, took the train. Either way, door to door it was a little over 2 hours each way. DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF. Do not waste your youth in traffic! It is not sustainable. I got a new job and now my commute is 15 minutes.

  125. The Golden Case

    2 hours! That just seems crazy! But I guess it’s normal there. My commute is about 30 to 35 mins, most of that being on the bus. I got really spoiled with my last job though (5 minute commute) and even my 30 mins feels like forever to me.

  126. Witty Nickname

    2 hours is…not abnormal for this area. I used to work 45 minutes away (office moved farther away) and had a 5:30 am – 2 pm shift. Getting to work in the mornings was fine – 45 minutes, unless it was raining (rare) or there was a bad accident that held up traffic (still pretty rare that time of morning). Getting home in the afternoons could take anywhere from 1.5 – 3 hours. If I left after 4 it was definitely going to take at least 2-3 hours.

    I learned that I was not cut out for that kind of commute. I’d probably do better with it now (better car, with a/c that actually works right, more patience), but it’s been 15 years, and I still hate driving north on the 5 (I drive to Disneyland, my husband drives home. That’s the rule).

    My husband is job hunting, and everything he sees is either in Orange County or on the West Side (we’re in the East Valley). He’s pretty much resigned to the fact that he’s going to have a commute wherever he lands. Thankfully, he likes to listen to podcasts and audio books, so he won’t mind as much (I can’t listen to them – 30 seconds in, and my mind wanders and I miss the whole thing). My commute is currently about 10 minutes and doesn’t involve a freeway.

    Have you looked into taking the train/subway? When I worked downtown, that’s what I did, and while it didn’t actually save me any time on my commute (it was probably actually longer), it did cut waaaaaaaay down on the stress for me. I could sit and read, or knit, or work on my laptop, or talk to my seatmates on the train (I found a group and we sat together every day) and not worry about other drivers and insane traffic. It made a huge difference for me. But I know LA’s subway system isn’t the best, so it’s not practical for every commute.

    1. Bea

      I listen to audio books that are young adult novels so it’s harder in my case to lose track.

      Granted my go to while focusing on ledger recs is listening to true crime stories on hulu…so time flies.

  127. Tina

    I am in the NYC area and currently have a 2:05 commute each way daily. Here is what makes it work:

    (1) I don’t mind it. If I were a person who minded, this would be a deal breaker.
    (2) I take public transportation. So I don’t have to be actively driving. I can prepare for the day or wind-down after. I can also catch-up on personal things. Not usually calls on the train, but email correspondence, reading, etc.
    (3) I have a boss who understand this and is reasonably flexible with me – which I was only able to really get to after working for a little while.

    It comes down to how you want to spend your time.

  128. Justin

    NYC. I can hate on the MTA all I want, and i pay a lot of rent, but I live above the subway, which goes directly to my office. It’s a 25-30 minute ride.

    I really hope I never have to drive to work.

    The average here is about 40-45 mins.

  129. Kethryvis

    SF Bay Area here. Mass transit the entire way, one-way commute time: 2.5 hours.

    This is the price of living and working in Silicon Valley. No one can afford to live where the jobs are, so you move farther out and compensate with an insane commute.

    I definitely have one of the longer commutes in my office… but there are a growing number of us who have it. And it is just going to continue getting worse.

    Is it normal? Yeah, in California it is becoming moreso. Is it right? No. But depending on your field… it is just something we sadly have to deal with.

    1. Anonymous Educator

      There are people commuting from Sacramento to San Francisco—no kidding! And I even think of Castro Valley as far, but that’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

    2. RottenRedRod

      Seconding this, having just escaped the bay area. It’s a reality and unsustainable. :(

  130. HollyWeird

    Echoing what the others said — I moved close to Hollywood for my first job which had a reasonable commute (15-20 min by car). Then I took a job in Culver City — my commute was 45 min-1 hr each way every day, but only 20 min with no traffic! Ultimately I moved walking distance from work, have a 20 min walk and 5 min drive. Total game changer to get that much time of your life back even though my rent cost was about $400/month more.

    Some of my coworkers commute in from the Inland Empire, some commute in from Long Beach. I wouldn’t be able to do it but they make it work for them.

  131. Jen

    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, about 28 miles outside of the city…my husband commutes via BART (the subway) everyday and it takes about 45 minutes if it’s running on time which it never is…if he were drive, it would easily be 90 minutes one way with traffic if there were no major accidents/road closures. It’s not uncommon in my suburban town for it to take 20 minutes to go less than five miles. Unfortunately it’s a very really problem in California and one we’re actually thinking about leaving because of it along with the high cost of living.

  132. Librarian

    I live in the Atlanta suburbs. My commute is roughly 3 hours round trip for 35 miles (one-way). 12 miles to the park ‘n ride and 23 miles on the commuter bus (employer pays for bus pass, so I don’t have to pay for parking at work). For me it’s an issue of cost. To live closer to work, my mortgage would double, my house would shrink by half, and my utilities would triple (the county where I work is REALLY poorly run). At this point, I’m spending about 20% on housing costs. Totally worth it to me.

    But I will say – even when I worked 12 miles from my home, it was 40-45 minutes. 37 traffic lights, multiple school zones. And that was traveling cross-county (not south towards Atlanta).

  133. Nan

    I live in the Chicagoland area, although I don’t work in the city. I go with the flow of traffic in the morning and afternoon. Barring any snow, crazy rain, etc. It takes about 30 mins to go 30 miles to and from work. Most of it is interstate driving. But, that’s because I work 7-3 or 3:30 and get in about 6:30-6:45. If I work 8-5 or 8-4:30, it’s closer to an hour each way. If it snows, anywhere from 1-3 hours.

    I used to work about 10-15 miles further down the road, so maybe 45 miles total, and that was an hour and half each way, getting in at 7.

    But 2-2.5 hours regularly? Ick

  134. Alienor

    There’s a reason why people in Southern California give distances in time and not in miles. I actually have no idea how far it is to most of the places I go regularly, just how long it takes to get there at various times of the day.

    That said, commutes don’t *have* to be that long even in this part of the country. Mine used to be 15 minutes each way; now it’s more like 30 minutes each way, part of which is walking time because my assigned parking is nowhere near my office. The longest commute I’ve ever had was an hour each way, and I regret doing it even for the 2.5 years I did, because it really impacted my stress levels and quality of life. I would look for another job, OP–just because a lot of people are willing to accept it doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

  135. Michaela Westen

    I live in a big city with a lot of surrounding suburbs that makes a huge metro area. Traffic is bad here but luckily there are trains so I don’t have to keep a car.
    Some of the people here choose to live in a faraway suburb, or even the next state over, and do 1 – 2+ hour commutes.
    I would *hate* that. I don’t like suburbs anyway, I like inner city. I need to have time to rest and a life, so I’ve always applied for jobs that were a reasonable 30-minute commute away. When I moved recently I looked for an apartment in easy commuting distance.
    It’s not about what a normal commute is, it’s about what the OP wants in her life and what she’s willing to do in terms of her commute. Even if no one else is doing, for example, a 1/2 hour commute by train, she should do it if it works for her.

  136. Not a Blossom

    I live in the suburbs and work in a mid-Atlantic city. My commute is 12 miles. It usually takes 45 minutes each way with me coming in and leaving early. If I shifted my schedule later, it could easily stretch to an hour and a half (yay traffic!). When I got my first “real” job, I was still living with my parents and commuting in, and my commute was about 2 hours. I ended up moving out earlier than I had planned because I couldn’t handle it. It sounds like you can’t, either. Some people have the stomach for long commutes and some don’t. No matter what “normal” is, you have to go with what’s feasible for you.

  137. Ms. Ann Thropy

    Four hours a day, or twenty hours a week just getting to and from work? You really need to decide whether that is how you want to spend your life. That commute leaves very little time for anything else.

  138. EA in CA

    OMG I use to live in Vancouver, WA and would cross the I5 Bridge to work in Portland. On google maps, it’s less than 10 miles, door to door. You would think I’d have an easy quick commute. NOPE! on a good day 15 mins. On a bad day 2 hours. I started biking to and from work because it took me 30 mins regardless of what trafficwas . The only thing that would slow me down was if the drawbridge was up (Seriously, a drawbridge on a major freeway)

    1. Bea

      Well the freeway goes over the Columbia…unless they create a much taller bridge it has to be a drawbridge. I hate the day the decide to change that bridge. They take an average of 10 years to complete.

  139. user7212

    I currently live 15 minutes away from work. My previous job was 45 minutes away – still not bad, is it?

    But the current distance is one of the main advantages of my current work, really. I get up at 7:00 am, leave home about 7:40 am and still reach the office about 8:00 am. I hate the job but the commute is simply perfect.

  140. EZ

    I don’t know anything about LA or LA traffic but to be fair, a 30 mile commute in the NYC area would also take FOREVER. The 20 minute subway ride OP describes from Bushwick to Soho is only about 6-7 miles.

  141. Marcel

    I’m Canadian. I was born and raised just outside of Toronto and with the exception of a 3 year stint working in Los Angeles I have lived here my whole life.

    That area is home to Highway 401, the busiest stretch of highway in North America and one of the busiest and widest in the world.

    Having done both commutes I would take an LA commute over a Toronto one in a hot minute. LA traffic was nowhere as bad as the 401 in the Toronto area.

  142. Crystal

    SoCal living! I am lucky I live and work within one mile of each other (in West L.A., thank you rent control!) BUT when I first moved here I lived in West L.A. and worked in Seal Beach and yeah it was 1 1/2 ish I got used to it and did audio books, called family liked my Grandma, tried to carpool when I could, etc. My boss now lives in Whittier, his commute is AT LEAST 2 hours on a good day.

  143. Bea

    I remember when I magically cut my usual 45 minute commute down to 7 minutes by moving closer. COL wasn’t that bad but holy crap after over a decade of having a commute, it was not good on my overall health.

    Moving to a huge metro area later taught me as someone who needs time between leaving and arriving at work, 45 minutes is my absolute max for city commutes and 1.5 for country miles.

    It’s all vastly different depending on your desires and goals. I do all my decompressing in my car and I drive 45 minutes out of my way to shop in peace as well, so I’m just a big ol crazy pants wanderer.

  144. sssssssssssssssss

    My commute is an hour and 10 minutes on average by bus, but I read a lot or nap. My employer pays for my bus pass and my current salary is decent, which takes away from the sting of this commute.

    In the Greater Toronto Area, the GO Train now goes to Barrie, which is north of Toronto. I took it once: it was a two-hour train ride from end to end. I took it just to go visit someone. I know however people are taking it daily to commute to and from Toronto. But it’s much more relaxing than driving from Toronto to Barrie.

  145. KR

    Hi OP! I’m in Southern CA but out by Palm Springs. My commute is really short because I live in the same town I work in, but we’re thinking of moving offices and my commute will go from 15 to 35 minutes. I totally get where you’re coming from and I hope you find a job in a better location!! I’ve had that experience a few times where I’ll go to Los Angeles or through San Bernardino and catch the traffic at EXACTLY the wrong time. It’s especially frustrating in a stick shift because your clutch foot gets so tired.

  146. Curious Cat

    Ugh I commiserate with you, OP. I used to have a 1.5 – 2hr commute (depending on rush hour) from a part of Northern VA into DC, so it’s definitely not just California. But I did get sick of the commute & moved closer in so I only now have a 30 min commute. So, not unheard of & it happens in all parts of the country, but definitely terrible.

  147. Molly

    This is a self-imposed problem. Why would anyone live 30 miles away from work?

    The premise of this is just bonkers to me. I don’t think L.A. is even 30 miles wide.

    Spoken as an Angelino with a 1 hr public transit commute.

    1. Not a Former Reality Game Show Host

      LA is 469 sq. miles. It doesn’t seem impossible that there’s 30 miles of road (point-A-to-point-B) between OP’s home and workplace.

    2. MuseumChick

      According to google: “the city extends for 44 miles (71 km) longitudinally and for 29 miles (47 km) latitudinally”

      Also, I assume the commute is not a straight line.

    3. Original Poster!

      I live in LB. I was new to the area and was blinded bc it was a “Cool Company” and I thought I liked driving after not having a car for 5+ years and was excited about it. Totally my own fault, I know. But I’m not one to just complain so I’m actively looking for a new opportunity to better suit what I want. We live, we learn :)

      1. Not a Former Reality Game Show Host

        Not your fault/It’s normal to be a bit naïve about a new city. Before I moved to LA, [Official Local Representatives] swore to me that the traffic was exaggerated and every place was accessible by public transport.

        Every place might be accessible by public transport at some point during the day. But if the commuter bus leaves at 6:45 AM once daily and leaves at 5:15 PM once daily, and I have to work past 5:15 sometimes, then realistically, driving was my only option. D’oh!

    4. Jeff

      It depends on your definition of “L.A.” A lot of people here consider “L.A.” the entire county, not just Los Angeles proper, and the county is huge. The traffic problems are also LA County and Orange County problems, not just the city.

      And the reason why people live 30 miles away from work is because it’s not affordable to live close to work. I work in Pasadena, where you need to earn about 2.5x the living wage in order to get by. I can’t afford that because I don’t make that much. I’m lucky in that I can afford to live about 10 miles away from where I work, but before that, I had to live about 30 miles away from work because that’s what my family could afford. I have a good job at a good organization that I’m not willing to leave, and trying to find work in a different state is a difficult endeavor. Most of the people I know live pretty far away from their workplaces here because that’s just the nature of average wages and cost of living.

      1. Witty Nickname

        I live in Burbank. Most people who work in Burbank can’t afford to live here anymore – houses in my neighborhood start at over $800k for 1100 square feet. A friend posted a listing for the house next door to her in a nice neighborhood in the DC area yesterday – the same house here would be 1.5-2 x the price, and would be on a much smaller lot. I’m lucky that the apartment my husband and I moved into 12 years ago, before we had kids, has only had one rent increase in all that time. It’s the only way we can still afford it, but we don’t want to move farther away because 1) my kids’ school is fantastic, and we want to stay in this district, and 2) my commute is really good, and I’ve done the horrid commute before. It would take a lot for me to be willing to go back to that.

    5. LBK

      It might seem ridiculous for an intra-city commute, but 30 miles is pretty normal for inter-suburb or suburb-to-city commutes. Most of my coworkers that live on the North/South Shore of Boston commute around that far.

    6. Bea

      Originally in Great Recession times, you took a job where the job was and found a way to get there.

      In metropolis areas you’re looking at more competition for limited job openings.

      This is usually out of desperation or not grasping how the commute issues will effect you.

      My biggest concern with many miles is what happens when your car is in the shop. How will you get there and are you making enough for proper car maintenance.

    7. Who the eff is Hank?

      My husband and I recently moved from being ~6 miles away from work to being ~40 miles away. This move added 15-20 minutes each way to our commutes, but it cut our rent in half and got us a bigger apartment. Now we can afford to save for a house and have space to start a family.

    8. I Love LA - Post Dodgers Win

      Lots of people who find the trade off of cheaper housing – commute to be worth it.

  148. Not a Former Reality Game Show Host

    Oh, Los Angeles! My 1.5-2 hour commute (each way) to drive a little over 10 miles was one of the reasons I had to leave that city. A commuter bus wasn’t an option because I had to be the first person in the office each day. 3-4 hours per day in traffic meant I lost 15-20 hours of non-work time each week… or a week each month.

    But a 2 hour commute in LA is not at all unusual. OP has to decide if the weather and the job is worth the trade-off of time.

    1. Original Poster!

      Already decided, not worth it! I’m putting in my notice during my 3-month review.No point leading them on, I know even if I stayed another month I’d still quit in the end and it’s impossible to interview without calling out with these hours.

      1. Not a Former Reality Game Show Host

        Good luck! I guess the silver lining is that “The commute became too much for me” seemed to be a commonly-given reason for leaving a position in Los Angeles, so hopefully interviews will accept that without question.

  149. Rachel Green

    My commute is 20 minutes in the morning and 25-30 in the evenings. If there’s been a wreck, it could take me 45 minutes to an hour to get home. I could never do more than 30-35 minutes. If I was taking public transport, I may find it easier because I could possibly be getting some work done on a train. But driving, I don’t want to spend more than an hour a day in the car. I would never take a job with a 2 hour commute unless it was short term.

  150. Peachy Keen

    We just moved to Atlanta a year ago, and when searching for a place to live, every time I found a possibility I plugged it into Google directions and set it to find the route from there to my and my partner’s workplaces at the times we’d be driving. It gave pretty good estimates of the average commute times. We quickly found the areas that would give both of us under 30 minute commutes and then were able to hone in on specific neighborhoods and rentals that met our other criteria from there.

    1. Uhmealeah

      I’d also like to +1 on the ability to search google maps for drive time estimates for your next position.

  151. Jeff

    Hate to say it, but 2 hours, while over the average, isn’t that outrageous. I live in Southern California, Los Angeles area, and when my commute was roughly 25 miles, it took anywhere from 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes each way working from 7 – 4. LA traffic is just brutal. 2 hours is long, but traffic has been getting worse, so it’s really not wildly outside normal in this area. The further west you go (i.e. once you get west of downtown LA), the worse it gets as well. My commute was on the east side of LA (Pomona to Pasadena), which meant it wasn’t as bad, but if you were going to do Pasadena to Santa Monica, yeah, that could easily be two hours each way. Welcome to horrible LA traffic. I’ve since moved, but my 10 mile commute still take 30-45 minutes each morning. A good rule-of-thumb for LA is every 10 miles will take roughly 30-45 minutes of travel time.

  152. pcake

    I’ve lived in Los Angeles all my life, and long commutes are a thing here. Decades ago, my family kept moving an hour in either direction each time my dad – who worked one-year aerospace contracts – got another job that was always in the opposite direction. Even then, traffic here was pretty heavy.

    My husband has a couple co-workers who wanted to make their home-buying budget go further, so they bought homes and hour and a half from work, two or more hours on heavy days. Now they spend 3 to 5 hours a day in their cars.

  153. RottenRedRod

    Yes, for LA (and the SF Bay Area), that is indeed common. If you live in those areas and want to reduce your commute you need to be strategic about the location of where live and work. Sorry :(

    I lived in San Jose commuting to Cuptertino for 6 years. It’s a ~10 mile commute that took me 45 minutes each way on a good day. I counted myself lucky, I had friends with commutes of 1-2 hours each way because of the limited options for affordable housing.

  154. Winifred

    I live 6.5 miles from my home in Arlington, Mass. to my office in Belmont, Mass.

    If I drive, it takes 45 minutes or more. 6.5 miles. 8.67 miles/hour.

    If I bike, it takes 35 minutes.

  155. Allison

    I’ve never lived in CA, so I can’t speak to whether that’s normal for the area, but that sounds miserable and not something you should accept. One hour might be okay if it was on the train, and I had a seat both ways, I could get lots of reading done and enjoy some TV shows and movies from Amazon and Netflix. Maybe a little more would be okay, but two hours, no way. And I managed a 45 minute driving commute for two and a half years, it’s not bad, but not ideal either, even with some sweet tunes in the car. If you spend 4 hours commuting five days a week, it will wear on you eventually.

  156. The Other Dawn

    I live on the East Coast and my commute is about 15 miles and takes me 20 minutes. I used to commute longer and it drove me nuts because, inevitably, pretty much every Friday night on the way home, there would be an accident. Thankfully I found something closer to home. In my area, two hours is definitely not normal; however, for the people a little further south of me that commute to NYC, it’s definitely not unusual.

    As for Cali traffic, I experienced it when I went there for a business trip a couple years ago. We were in Huntington Beach and decided to go to Hollywood. Going there was pretty much OK since it was later in the morning. Coming home, though, was awful. My niece and sister drove me crazy that day: niece was driving and had her phone out to GPS the route, even though I’d already GPS’d it on mine. She was trying to get out of the traffic. My sister was in the backseat also GPSing the route on her phone, also trying to get around traffic. So we had three phones going all with different routes. They both kept going back and forth about which route is better, which one takes less time, etc. I kept telling them that it doesn’t matter. We’re going to hit horrendous traffic no matter which route we take and will likely get there the same time either way. They both decided that we should get off the highway and “go the backroads,” which, of course, was probably one of the worst neighborhoods and we’re driving a rented Camaro convertible. We wasted a bunch of time and they finally listened to me and my niece got back on the highway. It was a very frustrating drive for more than one reason.

  157. IHaveANiceCat

    Just dropping in here to say that 45 minutes is astonishing for when you were living in New York. I’ve lived in Queens and Manhattan and have never had a commute less than one hour. Well done. I honestly didn’t think less than an hour was possible in NYC. Now I live in Jersey and my commute is 1 hour and 15 minutes – the same as it was from Harlem to my job on the lower east side. And I can afford my apartment. No regrets.

  158. JoAnna

    I used to commute from the far West Valley of Phoenix to Scottsdale, and then to Tempe. It was brutal. Absolutely brutal. I stuck it out for around six years because the pay and benefits were good, but I hated it. The only good thing was that I had a lot of time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Eventually I was able to transition into working from home most of the time, and then I was laid off. With my next job, my commute was only 30 minutes on a highway with very little traffic, and it was SO much better.

    We’ve been to LA on vacation several times and the traffic was a nightmare even when it wasn’t rush hour.

  159. H.C.

    It really depends where you live & work in LA, since it’s a sprawling city/county. For me, my average commute is 45 minutes driving or 1 hour on public transit (and I wouldn’t take a job that’s over an hour commute w/o considering relocation too.)

    Also, that’s also why SoCal folks tend to describe distance by time to get there versus actual miles/kilometers – it really depends on how busy/connected points A & B are.

    1. H.C.

      also, to your inquiry – two-hour commutes aren’t normal even by LA standards, and I’d advise to either relocate or job hunt so your commute is shorter – spending 1/6 of your day (and 1/4 of your waking hours) on the road is just not good for you, especially in the long-run.

  160. TotesMaGoats

    While it wasn’t the only straw to break the proverbial camel’s back at OldJob, going from a 20 minute commute to at least an hour and 10 minutes was hellish for me. No matter how I adjusted it was still awful. I was stressed and tired and missed my family. I was used to doing drop off and pick up from day care and I couldn’t do that anymore. I still can’t do pick up on a regular basis but my commute is about 30 minutes now and I’m a much happier person. Should I ever leave here, the commute will be a MAJOR factor.

  161. Crissy with an i

    LW I understand your struggle. I am from California and some time ago I decided to move about 30 miles away from work. I like you, I thought my commute would not be too bad (give or take 20 to 30 mins every day). However, I was shocked to see how awful CA traffic can get. My commute could be close to 1 to 2 hours on a good day. However, on days with excessive traffic or if there was an accident (which happened often), my commute could be between 3 to 4 hours. In the end, I was only able to handle this for a year. I ended up finding a place closer to work and now my commute is less than 15 mins.

  162. S Stout

    Dallas area – 10 min commute here – and the commute was a huge factor in our decision to buy in this area.

  163. ggg

    We have people commuting to our company near LAX from far and wide, including Thousand Oaks, Pasadena, Long Beach and even Riverside County. There are vanpools that leave as early as 5 AM to beat the traffic in, and most leave around 3:30 to beat the traffic home.

    Personally I couldn’t do it. But people do.

  164. HannahS

    When they were first married, my parents lived in LA. They each left in the morning, driving an hour in opposite directions. They loathed it, and so for the past 30 years my dad’s worked from home and my mom’s worked within walking distance of our house. I’m really trying to do the same, as I had an hour-long commute in high school and it was rough.

  165. Epsilon Delta

    I am in the Midwest. I drive 30 minutes one-way and that is about my limit. My husband works in construction so he has to go wherever the job site is, that varies from 10 minutes to 90 minutes, sometimes via the freeway and sometimes not. We live close to several freeways so that helps his commute a lot.

    We looked at some houses that would make my commute 45-60 minutes and keep my husband’s average about the same or a little longer, and although we really liked them, we had to pass. For me it is just too much time to spend in a car every day, and OP at 2 hours each way – even if everybody else is doing it – I think you really have the right to feel that way too!

  166. ErinW

    About 10 years ago, I lived in the Cleveland ‘burbs and commuted about 1 hour to graduate school (which in that program was a full-time 5-day-a-week job). It was a nightmare and I said I would NEVER do it again.

    2 years ago, my husband and I bought a house in the Pittsburgh ‘burbs and we both commute into the city. I’m about 45-50 minutes in the car (9 miles of stop-and-go). It’s really not that bad (not counting bad weather/unexpected road closures/etc.). The previous bad experience, it turns out, was based on two factors:

    1. me not knowing about podcasts yet (for real, they are life- and sanity-savers)
    2. the difficulty of my academic program, which meant I was putting in a trying day, then driving home to face more hours of school work, versus my life now, where I drive home towards just being happy and lazy

    So there are a lot of factors. How much you like the job, how easy your life is when you finally get home, and what you can do in the car to make the time not feel mind-numbing and wasteful.

  167. Tin Cormorant

    Here in the SF bay area, having a commute less than an hour is good, because all of the best paying jobs are in San Francisco, but it’s way too expensive to live there. It’s always a tradeoff because of housing prices near the good job centers. Everyone has to consider how much more they’re willing to spend to save time getting to work (or how much of a pay cut they’re willing to take to get a job closer to home). Some people want to be able to afford a big 3-4 bedroom house, so they’re willing to come from farther away in order to live somewhere they can afford that.

    I personally would rather have the time and am fine with living in a tiny house, so I pay more to live closer. I’m 35 minutes away on public transit and consider that pretty great (I’m walking distance from the station on this end and so is the office on the other end, so it’s around an hour door to door) but I have coworkers who commute at least 2 hours from Sacramento (by bus) or Gilroy (by train) and it’s not really out of the ordinary.

    Of course, being able to just clock out and listen to music or something on the train is what makes it bearable. I had a commute once that varied from 1-2 hours that I had to drive because I lived too far from the train, and it was so draining that I make all of my work/housing decisions based on public transit now.

  168. Ruth (UK)

    I commute 50mins each way by bike but I feel cycling is somehow less frustrating / or tolerable than driving. I don’t think I’d personally cope well with much over half an hour if I had to drive but I probably have a bit of bias that comes from living in a small UK city where lots of things are well within walking or cycling distance, or public transport, so my expectations of what I find doable in terms of committing is affected by what I’ve become used to.

    1. Anonymous Educator

      I was going to suggest to the OP to bike, but 30 miles would take just as long unless you’re a super competitive cyclist (in which case you’re going to show up to work all sweaty).

      1. Rosemary7391

        Could OP drive or take a train part way and then cycle? No need to do it all by one method. You can get folding bikes for public transport or some stations have permanent bike racks you can keep your bike in. Plus side is that the commute then takes the place of regular (cardio) exercise in the schedule if that’s a thing you do! (and if you don’t – I can confirm it really makes a difference having gone from not much exercise to running regularly).

  169. former Angeleno

    Former Angeleno here: This is not normal! When I lived in LA, I made a point of living as close to work as possible, because I knew the commute times were terrible. I lived about 8 miles away from work, and it routinely took me 30-40 minutes to get to work, depending on the traffic. So, the speed of travel you describe seems pretty normal for LA, but that’s exactly why people don’t live 30 miles from their workplace if they can help it! It doesn’t matter if your boyfriend thinks this is normal; what matters is your health and well-being.

  170. Canada eh!

    Montreal here. Used to be hell (25 km in 1.5h, yay for bridges and never ending roadwork, sometimes 2h-2h30 for the 1st snow, or 1st snow after a 2 week spring… people tend to forget how to drive in winter conditions in the spring, crazyness) but I changed jobs 5 years ago for one 5 km away. I now have two traffic lights that slow me down to 10 minutes. Ah, I’d never go back to this huge commute. I pick jobs I apply for (I’m lucky to be in a in-demand job so I can be picky) and if I’d really have no choice for a job, I’d move closer (I’m by no means attached to my house, it’s just a house).

  171. NW Mossy

    When I lived in Chicago, I commuted reverse from just south of downtown to a suburb out by the airport, and it was routinely 2 1/2 hours one way. It worked for a while (about 3 years), but only because all the stars were aligned to make it feasible: my husband also worked long hours, we didn’t have kids, I could travel much of the distance on bus/train and indulge my love of reading en route, and I loved the job.

    That said, when I relocated to the Northwest, I was adamant that I needed a much shorter commute. These days, it’s about 30 minutes door-to-door in the morning and 45 in the afternoon when I stop off for child pickup.

  172. synchrojo

    The Census Bureau published a really interesting working paper on “Mega Commuting” back in 2013. It is a great read (at least, if you’re a data nerd!) and looks at rates of extremely long commutes (which they define as over 90 minutes or over 50 miles) in different regions of the country. According to that research, only about 2.5% of workers nationwide have 1-way commutes over 90 minutes. Topping the list of metro areas with high rates of mega commuting are San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA (2.06%), New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA (1.90%), Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (1.89%), Trenton-Ewing NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area (1.40%), and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA (1.25%). So, yes even in LA, a 2-hour one-way commute is on the extreme end of the bell curve of commute times, particularly for auto commute. Transit trips tend to be longer on average than driving commutes, which can be because of the added time of transfers/connecting/slower travel, but also because people are willing to tolerate longer transit trips than driving trips since they can zone out/sleep/read/work en route.

  173. mf

    LA resident here, though I’m a transplant from Chicago. Let me guess… you drive the 405 every day?

    A 2-hour commute is on the very high side of normal here. I know people who do it but they all hate it. Most people do relocate to be closer to work or they limit their job search by geographic area.

    So it’s totally reasonable for you to find a new job. Just be sure to do a lot of research before accepting a new job. Traffic can be heavier in some areas than others.

    Personally, I changed jobs recently due to my commute. I went from 1 hour to 20 minutes, and let me tell you, even though job hunting is a headache, IT’S WORTH IT when you don’t have to battle traffic every day.

  174. Girl Alex PR

    I’m in D.C. and two hours is long, but definitely not weird here. I’ve done a 2 hour each way commute, but I hated it. I got my commute down to 40 minutes each way, and then realized I would rather pay more for a smaller home than spend a bunch of time commuting from a large house. Now my commute is an easy 15 minutes. Best trade I have ever made. I have a life, I actually see my kids, and small houses are way easier to clean. I don’t know if moving is an option, but it might be worth exploring.

  175. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

    By absolute standards, commuting two hours one-way is not normal, but in some areas, it’s depressingly normal.

    I’m a recovering Staten Islander. Taking the train or local Staten Island bus, to the Staten Island ferry, to the Manhattan subway, could easily take two hours from south-shore Staten Island to midtown Manhattan if a subway was delayed or the ferry was running a “modified schedule.” And if you paid extra for the express bus, and there was an accident jamming up one of the highways or bridges… it literally could take shorter to fly from JFK to Florida than to travel 15 or so miles from Staten Island to Manhattan.

    I now live and work in the same borough of NYC. Even so, my commute averages about 50 minutes each way. To others, this is absolutely horrifying. To me, it’s almost heaven on earth.

  176. Ruth

    I lived in Northern California and the commutes were similarly awful. I drove, did public transport and frankly, I gave up and moved.

    There’s the concept of geographically undesirable and that’s pretty much where you are.

    You can either move closer to work, or look for work closer to where you live. And don’t think that just because you’ve shaved 15 miles off the distance that you’ll have an easier commute. Really test it. I had to do it in the days before traffic apps like WAZE and MAN, it was nightmarish.

    I would only move back to San Francisco if I could live AND work in the city. Then I’d get rid of my car and take the bus everywhere.

  177. CanCan

    The question is whether it’s worth it for you. My commute is 1 hour, but it’s on the bus – so I get to spend the time as I like. Lately, I’ve started bringing my laptop and working, so perhaps I’ll start leaving earlier and spending less time at the office.

    My commute at the previous job was 30 minutes or under (by car), but my work hours were at least 1 hour longer. What’s better – spending 2 hours on the bus, or 1 hour in the car and 1 extra hour at work?

    It would have to be a pretty awesome job to be worth spending 4 hours daily commuting. Personally, I don’t see myself doing it, unless I have no choice (e.g. severe financial hardship) or I could work during the commute and cut down time at the office.

  178. Archaeopteryx

    My (Seattle) commute is about 25 minutes of bus and walking. It would be about 10, but businesses here really discourage employees from driving, so I opted for the free bus pass over $18 a day parking!

  179. OfCourseIt'sCashmere

    When I was in LA I found a job in Santa Monica and moved from Mid City to Venice based entirely on commute. Turned 75min commutes on the 10 into a 15 minute longboard down the boardwalk. There are jobs worth moving, even in the same town, for.

  180. Displaced Midwesterner

    Oh, OP, I feel for you. I live and work in different parts of LA than you do, but I and my husband have both had some really awful commutes since we’ve moved out here. I hope that you’re able to find another job with a more manageable commute! That seems like it would probably be the best solution in this case, given that you seem to be pretty happy with where you live otherwise.

    To those commenters who’ve weighed in with advice to move closer to work: I think that people who have been in LA for a long time seriously underestimate how challenging this can be in the year 2018 for people who are new to the area and not making six figures or close to it, whether they own or rent. Even my native Angeleno friends who’ve moved or bought homes as recently as 2014 or 2015 have been shocked by the prices in the current housing/rental market. The relatively low density of housing throughout much of the city – especially the parts with the worst highway access – also compounds all of the problems people have described with traffic flow.

  181. Sleepy in Seattle

    I cannot stand commuting, especially by car. If there was a better transit system in my area, I would be okay with a long commute, but I’m from Seattle. I pay at the top of my rent price range to live closer to downtown because not only was my previous commute causing me anxiety and road rage, but it is just more worth it for me to have extra time on the weekdays to get things done and unwind. I also have trouble waking up in the mornings and have a pretty bad sense of how long certain things (showering, making coffee) will take me, so I’m not cut out for getting up earlier to avoid traffic.

    I previously lived in Shoreline, the town immediately north of Seattle. The distance between my house and my office was about 13 miles. My commute was anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hr 30 mins. Maybe 30 minutes if I left before 7:10am. An hour if I left any later. In the afternoons, if I left between 4pm and 6pm, the commute home was an hour or more at least. I recently moved to Magnolia, about 6 miles to my office. My commute is now about 20 minutes (a little worse in the afternoon, but I don’t have to take the freeway).

    Seattle traffic is getting so bad, Tacoma to Seattle can be easily 2+ hours, both ways. A minor accident can shut everything down and double commute times. The most frustrating thing about it is we could have had such a nice light rail system by now had people in the late 60’s/early 70’s not voted down the initiative (with 2/3rds of the project federally funded). Instead we’re now spending billions of dollars trying to get our transit system caught up…. ugh. I had to live with my parents in Auburn (a town about 25 miles south of Seattle) for a few months, and if I did not get to the train station by 6:25am, there would be no parking spaces available, and I would have to drive. By that time, it would take about 1.5 hours or more to get to my work.

    Anyway, I can relate to not liking long commutes. I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking for a position closer to where you live. You know what your time is worth to you. Good luck!

  182. Gelliebean

    My daily drive is about 26 miles, and takes just about 1.25 hours during the school year, including one stop to pick up my carpool buddy. Of course, that’s me living out in a rural area, heading into the state capital and downtown. I would be so thrilled if public transit was ever an option! More time to read & crochet.
    Traffic has been getting worse over the last few years, and I tell myself if the drive ever hit 1.5 hours, I’d start looking for another job somewhere closer, but the truth is I probably wouldn’t.

  183. KH

    OP, depending on where you’re living (sounds like maybe OC?), have you considered Metrolink? I used to commute from Mission Viejo (south OC) to DTLA and it was a lifesaver. It ends right at Union Station, so you can connect to any of the other lines that head out into the rest of LA. LA has decent public transit!

    Otherwise, consider moving. This commute will wear on you. It will also wear on your car. I’ve been doing an hour-ish each way for a few years now and am so happy to be moving to an area of town where I can take the train, 40 min door to door. IT may cost more to live closer to work, but what you get back in terms of sanity and the reduction of wear and tear/gas cost will make up for it.

    1. KH

      One more option – Commuter Express buses! There’s the official Commuter Express routes run by LADOT, but many of the far-flung suburbs have a special express bus service to get people to LA (Foothill Transit comes to mind).

  184. MonicaLane

    I live in Orange County and work in Burbank. On a good day my commute is 90 minutes, on the worst it has been 3.5 hours. I won’t say “that’s just how things are” in LA. But I WILL say “that is why most people choose to only look for jobs in their neighborhood, or move for work even within the city”.

    I choose to live near my social life instead of near work, but it’s definitely rough.

  185. Oxford Coma

    General comment, not intending to Monday morning quarterback the LW: doing a test run of the commute before accepting a job is really, really helpful if you can manage it.

    I was on the fence about a job (description of the duties seemed intentionally vague, interviewing partners seemed old-fashioned and sexist) but it was only eight miles away, so I felt like I couldn’t pass it up. I tried the drive at 7:00 AM two days in a row, and it turned out to be a nightmare–school buses and dump trucks turned the no-passing areas into parking lots. It was the extra push I needed to turn down a position that probably would have made me miserable.

    1. Julianne

      I agree that this is a great idea when possible! My first job after grad school was about 90 minutes on public transit, which was definitely very long and not ideal, but having done the same commute while interning there during school, I knew I could deal with it.

  186. Marvel

    Two hours was totally normal for the area I grew up in, if you commuted into the city from the suburbs. The area I grew up in, for reference, is one of the top five cities in the US for bad traffic.

    Where I live now? It’d be unthinkable. I have an hour commute for a contract job I just took and they were super concerned that I wouldn’t take it because of that. I had to try really hard not to laugh.

  187. Scott D

    Public transit in San Francisco is really gross. People do take BART, but if you do you’re going to deal with some VERY unpleasant things and get to work in a bad mood. I’ll take a one hour drive in my car, listening to music on a nice surround system, over a 30 minute rail commute filled with smelly homeless and ranting lunatics. Even better, though, is riding my bike to work–then I don’t have to go to the gym before or after.

  188. Sandlands Geek

    The answer to all this is to move to DUBAI. So many expats here live in beautifully appointed apartment buildings. People build up, not out, because we don’t have NIMBYs. So commutes are very reasonable.

  189. BetterOffNow

    I work in NYC and live in a suburb about 35 miles away. My commute is 1 hr and 45 minutes door to door, assuming no train delays. Train delays are typical. And my office is walking distance to the train station. Many others need to hop on a subway once they get into the city. In my line of work, there are not many opportunities closer to my house and if there are, the pay would not be nearly what it is in the city. So 2 hours sounds typical to me!

  190. I was a Jimless Pam

    This is interesting because my husband recently took a job in a middle-of-nowhere college town where the only jobs besides university-related ones are in the service or healthcare industry (neither of which I’m qualified for), so I’m looking for work in the nearest city, two hours away. His job is flexible and would allow him to work from home at least 2-3 days a week and commute only when necessary, but if it comes up when I’m interviewing in the city people always seem shocked because of the part of the country we’re in. I’m actually surprised more people don’t pursue the option we are, though, because there’s really nothing job-wise if you’re not a professor or student out where he is.

  191. jk

    It’s not ok and it’s not normal for the rest of the country/world! My max is 1 hour. Currently I’m at about 25 minutes depending on traffic. If It’s an hour I’d prefer to be walking or using public transit though – hate being stuck in a car.

    Our company used to be joined to an office in San Fran and some people there commuted AT LEAST 2 hours to work and back each day. More than 4 hours commute time! What kind of life is that? The thing is though… the San Fran executive team were basically like “this is normal” and “our team in San Fran commutes 2 hours so you shouldn’t have a problem with adjusting your commute for a new office location”.

    No… this is not how this works. Just because they don’t value their lives and the people in it, doesn’t mean the rest of the company has to follow. It’s incredibly stupid, a massive waste of personal time and extremely harmful to the environment.

    1. I Like Pie

      To be fair, being ok with a 4 hr commute doesn’t mean they don’t value their lives & people in it. It can be perfectly normal to have this commute in some locations, and some companies accommodate that (allowing flexibility for traffic jams/weather, offset working hours, working 4/10’s.) Some cities (San Fran being one) are simply not affordable for people, or people would rather live outside the city, and they make the decision that the job is worth that choice.

  192. Lauren

    I have been working at home for over 5 years now and cannot imagine going back to a job I had to commute to. On days where I have to drive through morning commute traffic to get to appointments and such, it makes me CRAZY.

    Remote work is the wave of the future, and eliminating 4 hour round-trip commutes are one of the many reasons why.

    Perhaps this has been suggested already, but can you move closer to your job?

  193. Violaine

    I’m going to be the odd person out and tell you all that last fall, I took a job in Washington, DC and that my commutes are roughly 1.5-2 hours each way. However, only 10-15 minutes of that is by car. A little over an hour is by commuter rail. Another 15-20 minutes by shuttle, with wait times in between all, obviously. I live 40 miles south of my workplace. I work in a pretty niche part of healthcare, and I’m enduring it for the opportunity that provides. I spend my time on the train reading or listening to podcasts/audiobooks while poking at Facebook or whatever.

    It works for me, for now. It would not work for lots of people. I don’t have young children and I have a framework at home that supports my doing this. Some days, I really do miss my 30 minute or less commutes, but I’m not too keen on paying DC rents, so I stay where I am and take the option that keeps me off I-95 every day. It’s a trade-off.

    1. Argh!

      When I lived in DC it took me 50 minutes to drive 11 miles from Alexandria to downtown. The alternative is working at a job in a small city that nobody with a mid-level income wants to live in (like I do now). Now I commute 15 minutes to work but it’s a minimum of 90 minutes to get to a city of any size with anything interesting to do, even with no traffic.

  194. zapateria la bailarina

    yikes that’s awful. i would quit immediately (if moving is not an option).

    my commute is about 35 minutes. used to be 25 minutes until we moved. even that is on the higher end of what i would prefer. for about a year i commuted an hour to work and i did get used to it but i wouldn’t choose to go back to doing that.

  195. Argh!

    When I lived in New York I knew people who commuted in from the suburbs, and it generally took them about 2 hours.

  196. KJ

    I commuted from the IE to West Hollywood for the first 2 years of my job out of college. That is 46 miles each way which took me 1 hour 45 mins on good days and 2 hours just about every single other day. That’s two hours both ways! Unfortunately it is normal. A lot of my coworkers did the same. I was living at home with my parents saving up and my 30K starting salary was not nearly enough for an apartment on my own. I now live 9 miles from my work and my commute is 45 minutes. This is soooo much better though. LA traffic is no joke and unless you are able to afford living right next to your work, it is just how it’s going to be. It’s best if you can avoid freeways too. City driving is easier on the soul in my opinion.

  197. I Like Pie

    So Cal native – yup, 2 hours can be totally normal. There’s a reason, despite improved public transportation, we love our cars. I live in the SFV, two major freeways are short drives away. Fortunately, my job is just on the west end of the SFV (I live on the east end) but even that commute, 8 miles, can take me 20 minutes on average, taking streets – if I took the 118 it would take me about 45 minutes depending what time I leave. I looked at a job offer in Beverly Hills, and though it would have paid more, the only ways for me to get there were:
    – Direct shot down the 405 (I checked driving times through the Sepulveda Pass every day one week and it went from 45 minutes to 3 hours, because of CA drivers. It was never consistent.)
    – 118, 5, 170, 101 then streets (4 freeways? no thank you)
    – 118, 5, 170, take a canyon over the mountains then streets (average drive time over an hour)

    My car doesn’t have tinted windows and isn’t the most comfortable, so even though they’d have paid me more, all that would go towards offsetting the increased expense of car maintenance. I also was going to school at night in Sylmar, so my day’s would’ve been spent driving and I’d have zero life. And I’d be forever stressed about what time I’d need to leave for work to make it on time, knowing there’s no way I’d know for sure because of the human factor.

    TL;DR: CA drivers measure distance in time/how many freeways you have to take to get there, not miles. (Think of Clueless, when Cher’s dad tells her “Everywhere in LA takes 20 minutes.” That is just for the city center of LA, like Hollywood to the Westside, on a good day. Anywhere outside that, bring supplies.)

  198. jo

    Hi, OP! Another recent NYC expat here. I moved from Brooklyn to California (Antelope Valley, high desert). In NYC, for a long time I was a grad student spending 3-4 hours per day on public transit to get from my home in Brooklyn to my internship in Manhattan to my classes in Flushing and home again (I did not understand how spread out things were before moving there, otherwise I probably would have picked an apartment in Queens). After graduating, it was 50-60 minutes from home to work. After several years, that got to be too much and left me feeling like I had no life–and my schedule was way less draconian than yours! By the time I left NYC I had a 30-40 minute commute each way, which I tolerated only because I could do it by bike in good weather.

    Now I live in a really small town. I work from home and share a car with my wife, whose job is on the other side of town–all of 10 minutes away if we go exactly at the speed limit! (I take her and pick her up most days.) It is GLORIOUS. I miss some things about city life, but I don’t miss city commutes, and I will have to be living somewhere amazing to go back to that kind of lifestyle.

    You’re not crazy. I can’t imagine tolerating 2+ hours each way unless I lived somewhere with such a limited job market that there was no other choice, and no possibility of moving. In LA, you have the option to pick a different location for either your home or your job. FWIW, my cousin lives in LA, and she told me her commute from West Hollywood to Santa Monica was about 1 hour. She recently moved to Santa Monica to be near her job.

    Are you living with your boyfriend? Don’t let him hold you back from reorganizing your life to make it more tolerable to you. If you find a job you really like, but with a long commute, then maybe your boyfriend should pick up and move to a new neighborhood with you. If that makes his commute longer, well, he’s the one who thinks 2+ hours is no problem, so let him deal with it. Or he can deal with a long trip from his home to yours to see you.

  199. mialoubug

    I live 15 miles from all directions from Boston. I live in a community that doesn’t have a train or a commuter rail. I need to take a bus (7 miles) to reach either of those. I choose to drive. My average drive time is between 50 and 90 minutes each way for 15 miles. It really doesn’t matter whether I leave at 7 am or at 9 am — it takes just as long to get in every day. Going home is just the same thing in reverse.

    And there is nothing I can do about it. I’m fortunate enough to have flex time and very understanding bosses. I would rather drive than depend on public transportation, which doesn’t save me any time at all either.

    1. blackcat

      Folks where I grew up (California) seem astonished that I live just 6 miles from downtown Boston. But those are 6 very, very long miles if you drive. It’s short on the commuter rail… which is really restrictive in terms of times. I’m pretty sure there are days when it would be faster to *walk* to downtown from my neighborhood than to drive (Google says ~2 hours, and Google thinks people walk slowly, so I could probably do it in 1.5ish).

    2. Julianne

      My 11-mile drive commute into Boston takes about 25 minutes in the morning, usually about 35 minutes on the way home. I am lucky that I live and work quite near highway entrances/exits, and I work 7-3 (and usually get to work by 6:30).

  200. Clever Name

    Ultimately I think the question for you is not what’s normal for your region, but what feels doable and sustainable for you in the long-term.

    This is so spot on. Honestly, my hackles go up when one person says “I feel this way/have this opinion” and another person tells them, “well, it’s NOT NORMAL to feel that way/have that opinion”. Like can they really not fathom that other people have different thoughts and feelings than they do. I think it displays a real lack of empathy, to be honest. But that’s my opinion, and others may disagree. :)

  201. Ella

    Has nobody mentioned the total amazingness that is this stats website? I’ve been clicking through to different infographics for like half an hour now. This is fabulous.

    1. Ella

      Also even though many people here live in highly dense areas and have long commutes, statistically speaking, many of the longest commute times seem to be in rural areas. FASCINATING.

      1. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

        My 40 minute commute was in a rural area and it was beautiful, winding road, lakes and lots and lots of wildlife. I hit a raccoon, squirrel, snake and deer with my car. Not all at the same time, it was just one of the hazards of country driving.

        1. blackcat

          “Not all at the same time”

          I am wondering who you know and what experiences they had that you felt the need to express this. Did you regularly see a raccoon fighting a snake over the squirrel the snake was eating while a dear just happened to walk by?

          I ran over a squirrel on my way to work one day while teaching. In first period, kids were talking “Man, did you see that flat squirrel near the main entrance?” “Yeah, it was SO FLAT! Did someone like try to make it that flat?!” I did not own my part in natural selection.

        2. Oxford Coma

          This is my current reality. Two deer and two totaled cars in less than a year.

          Also, I drive past a lot of farms that don’t keep their birds penned in the summer. It’s common for people to have to pull over and knock to offer reimbursement for hitting a chicken/guinea hen/something else.

  202. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

    Right now my commute is 10 minutes, 15 minutes if there is heavy traffic. I’ve commuted 90 minutes for one job and 40 minutes for my last job. This current 10 minute commute is my reward for all those winter road commutes on the highway.

  203. Ann Nonymous

    I do NE Glendale to Pasadena (which is counter to the majority of traffic) and it’s 10-20 minutes. I am NOT a commuter and the absolute max for me would be half hour. And that would have to be for a super terrific, well-paid job.

  204. a good win

    I live in SoCal and I find it best to think of the stretch of Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena and the West LA areas like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Long Beach, etc as separate cities. I have a 3 mile commute to work and specifically chose to live close. I have friends who live in Orange County and have two hour commutes each way. But yeah, 30 miles in LA is a lot and will be at least an hour as you’ve found.

    1. Traffic queen

      This is so true! East side / West side / South (e.g. Long Beach) are three distinct metropolitan areas. Commute between one and another at your peril.

  205. Lulubell

    Former New Yorker who moved to LA. I have a 25 mile commute, which is actually a reverse commute, and it takes me about 40 minutes to 1:15 hours depending on traffic. Anything under an hour I am okay with. Coming from NYC, where I had to walk everywhere with all my stuff or take the subway with hundreds of other people, I have never minded being alone in my comfy car listening to my podcasts or music in peace. That said, the days where the commute gets over 1 hour are tough, and I definitely couldn’t do that twice a day.

    1. Lulubell

      I’ll also mention that I’ve been here for 13 years, and I don’t know anyone who does a 2 hour commute. I can think of a few senior execs who might but they are not in the office 5 days per week; they are either on the road as part of their job (sales) or have worked out a WFH/remote schedule. So for all of the people saying it’s normal, it may not be abnormal, but it’s also not particularly common.

  206. thewingmaster

    I commuted from Huntington Beach to Burbank one time…it wasn’t fun, but it was normal to me

  207. Anna

    Oh no! And I thought my one hour commute one way was bad (it can be 1.5 hours on a really bad day). I’d say move closer to your job, honestly, if you can. One hour one way (two hours both ways, on a good day) has taken it’s toll, and I can’t imagine how bad it can feel if you are taking on a two hour commute. Although moving is easier said than done.

  208. Tea

    Los Angeles commuter reporting for duty! My commute averages 30 minutes to 45 minutes each way on average, although when SoCal was on fire it took me nearly 3 hours. Local commuting friends report anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.25 hours. I’d say your 2 hours commute is definitely on the LONG end for LA commutes, but it’s also not out of the ordinary, considering how bad our traffic is.

    THAT SAID, that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. I know I’d absolutely shrivel up like a prune if I had to sit through that much of a commute. If you can move closer or even just to a better positioned location (closer to freeway access or a less clogged entrance, just closer in general) or seek a new job that is closer to where you live, that is 1000000% percent a good idea. Life’s too short to spend it all in your car.

  209. NorthCalifHR

    I live and work in Contra Costa County – SF Bay Area, across the Bay Bridge past Oakland. I have a 20 mile drive, 98% freeway, and flex hours, so I can arrive anytime between 7:30 and 9:30 am. Morning commute averages 40 minutes, can be as short as 30 and as long as 75. Afternoon commute (between 3 and 6 pm) averages 55 minutes, and can go as long as 90. Evening commute (after 6 pm) is actually a little faster – average is 45 minutes, up to 70 minutes. And the alternate routes actually aren’t any faster, just more interesting (residential/light business) to look at.

    And I consider this typical for CoCo County; the SF Peninsulat and Santa Clara-San Jose easily double and triple those averages. I lived in Orange County a couple of decades ago, and your commute sounds like then-current reality. In Southern California, the weather is great, the traffic … not so much ;~(

  210. MM

    I have a two hour one-way commute to work from New Jersey to New York. Drive, train and subway. Delays are constant, leaves on the track, problematic signals, repair work etc. Most of my colleagues travel at least an hour to an hour and a half, and mostly by mass transit. My company allows WFH as much as two days a week, which gives people flexibility and a better work/ life balance.

  211. Thlayli

    2 hours is not normal – but that doesn’t really help you. Have you considered buying a motorcycle, moped or bicycle? Would any of those get you there faster? Where I live a commute that takes an hour in a car at peak traffic takes about 20 minutes on a moped.

  212. Kallisti

    For what it’s worth, I’m in DC and I know quite a few people with commutes that long or longer — and almost everyone I know who lives in the suburbs has a shorter commute usually but is used to it taking 2+ hours to get home. I live six miles from my work, and it takes me fifty-five minutes by public transit (when it’s working on time, etc) and about an hour and fifteen by car. I usually commute by bike, which is about seven miles because of the path, and takes 45 minutes or so.

    1. Yolo

      I cannot figure out how the average in Alison’s link was calculated — 30-40 minutes seems nice but definitely rare in my office!

      1. Beth Jacobs

        Just an educated guess here – but maybe the non-office workers are pulling the average down? I imagine that in retail or food service, you are more likely to pick a job based on location, because there’s not that many other differences between employers?

        I mean, if you work in a downtown office, you prolly won’t be able to afford rent anywhere in that general area. But restaurants and shops tend to be located in residential areas so there’s always a house just across from them?

        Pure speculation on my part of course.

        1. Kallisti

          I think it’s the opposite, actually — someone has to work in the restaurants and such in the city’s downtown core, and you know the food service workers aren’t earning enough to pay $2,500/month for a one-bedroom apartment.
          Also, people who work in offices I think are much less likely to take public transportation, which means they can sometimes get around quicker (especially if it’s outside of rush hour, which a lot of service work is).

  213. John Rohan

    A two-hour commute “normal”?

    Think of it this way, if you commuting for 2 hours, that’s 4 hours total each day. That turns an 8 hour workday into a 12 hour workday. Are you getting paid enough for that?

    1. Beth Jacobs

      Preach! And a 12 hour workday leaves just 12 hours for yourself – which is basically eat, shower sleep. Maybe some TV but I would be way to exhausted to make any enjoyable use of my evenings. I have a 20 minute commute by public transit, so if I get off on time, evenings can be used for dates, hanging out with friends or running work outs. Or you know, just doing the laundry.

      Sometimes I do have to stay late and even that cuts into time I do need – I can’t imagine swinging a 10 hour workday and then adding a four hour commute on top of that!

  214. Los Angeles Native

    This sounds about right for LA traffic. I did that length of a commute for about a year when I lived there. I left home in the dark and got home in the dark, no matter what time of year it was. I lived in LA for almost 30 years, grew up there, learned to drive there. When I go home to visit, I won’t even get behind the wheel any longer. Too many people, too much traffic….even though I learned to drive out there, I can’t do it any more. My aging brain just can’t take the stress.

    OP, I’m sorry you are having to experience LA Gridlock at its finest. Maybe try to find something closer to home?

  215. Traffic queen

    30 miles is Pasadena to Santa Monica. Or Glendale to Long Beach. You are crossing the ENTIRE LA metropolitan area no matter how you cut it.

    2 hours is totally normal and expected for a trip like this in rush hour. Those trips are close to an hour even late at night because it’s not all highway. If you had spoken with someone who’s lived in LA for a few years, they would have talked you out of it.

  216. John

    To me it’s insane to be spending 4+ hours per day on your commute. 20 hours per week! Nope.
    I have a 30-35 minute commute and that is plenty long enough.

    There is no reason why you should accept this commute as part of your life. Start looking for something closer.

  217. MissingArizona

    Not really anything to add, but the only time I have ever had to pull over and cry because of driving, was on an LA freeway. I had learned to drive in Phx, had gone to Cali plenty of times, but I could not handle an LA freeway.

    1. President Porpoise

      Seriously. AZ for the win. Good weather, goodish food, non-crazy commutes, relatively low housing prices and good jobs available. I would live here over LA any day of the week.

  218. Tara2

    Where I live its pretty normal, because while we actually have one of the best traffic systems in North America, a majority of work is in the major city, and the bulk of the workforce lives in an entirely different city, because rent prices are so messed up here (Our 1+ den apartment is $1700/month… in the CHEAPER city).

  219. She Who Must Be Obeyed

    I used to have a 45 minute commute, which was absolutely unheard of for Ogden at the time. I lived in Murray (south of Salt Lake), since I went to the University of Utah, but I actually enjoyed the commute. I worked swing shift, which helped, but I also had a sports car, which I *loved* to drive!

    For a while, my work commute was about 3 minutes, which was nice, but that was when I was living in Ogden, and commuting to Salt Lake for school, and I hit rush hour going to school, so it was a lot worse. While I was doing this, there were some people from National Office (DC area), whose commutes were up to 2 1/2 hours (ugh!)–even the drive to school wasn’t that bad! And they said that was normal for government workers, because they weren’t paid enough to live near the city or park in the city.

    Now my commute is 10-20 minutes, depending on the day and whether I hit the “no traffic” pocket or not…for some reason, if I leave at exactly 6:35, there’s no traffic, so I just cruise, no traffic frustrations. Plus, I work weekends, which decreases the commute time considerably (plus the lights change immediately when you trigger them on Sundays, which helps a lot).

    My sister commutes from Ogden to Salt Lake. If she drives and traffic is good (no accidents), it’s 45-60 minutes. Front Runner (mass transit) is about 90 minutes. A lot of people average that around here, just because they live outside Salt Lake and commute in, plus they all work *9-5*. (Poor souls–my commute is helped immeasurably by the fact that I work 7-3:30).

    1. She Who Must Be Obeyed

      I was just thinking about my comment, and it occurred to me that my shorter commutes are going to work only. Coming home is a lot worse. On weekdays, I have to deal with the traffic around the industrial complexes that have been built near where I work (and whoever “planned” the roads, *didn’t* plan for the additional traffic!). Plus, I live near a mall and practically next to a few grocery stores and gas stations, so traffic always sucks in the afternoons. 20-30 minutes is average–for 7 1/2 miles!

    2. Epiphyta

      I poked at the route planner; it would have taken Spouse 2 hours to travel the 47 miles from our old home to his workplace, and that’s on Front Runner for most of it: Provo Central is too far from the office to walk, and the buses still don’t get you within two miles. But I-15 in January . . . *shudder*

      Working remote is much better! (Okay, once a month there’s the ferry schedule/Seattle traffic to plan around to get to Sea-Tac, but walking down the hall to the office the rest of the time more than makes up for it.)

  220. GreenDoor

    I’m work in Milwaukee and live in the suburbs. Even stopping to drop kids off at daycare, my total commute – whether I take the streets or the freeway – is 15 minutes. I think “normal” is relative to where you live.

    Whether you should accept this commute comes down to the extent to which you need to unwind from your work life and transition into your home life, and the extent to which you can do that in your car. It also comes down to how much time you like to spend on other things. If you are a have important hobbies, are very social, have people/pets you like to spend time with or have to care for, have a lot of housekeeping/errands you need to do….and your commute is keeping you from those things for too long, then a commute like this probably isn’t for you. Base it on your needs – not what’s acceptable to others around you!

  221. Valkyrie

    Native Los Angelino here, I’m SUPER LUCKY that I only have a 40 minute (12 mile) commute. Long Beach to West Hollywood seems absolutely insane to me (WeHo is bad enough on it’s own traffic-wise without the added commute).

    You *could* get an electric car with the carpool lane sticker and take it when you’re rising solo, but I’m pretty sure those expire this year. Good Luck!

  222. Parfait

    Los Angeles here. Sadly, given the insane cost of housing in the areas where the jobs are, this is more and more common. Someone mentioned Santa Monica above – you would be hard pressed to find a 1-bedroom apartment for under $2000 a month. There are NO single family houses for sale for under a million anymore. Zero.

    And of course the more high-paying tech jobs are added there, the higher the demand for housing there is. And then the housing is even more expensive. So there’s even MORE traffic trying to get there at 8 AM from all the far flung sprawling areas. It’s a perfect storm.

    I was really lucky to find a job on my side of town. It’s 8 miles away against the flow of traffic. I can do the drive in 20-30 minutes, depending what time I leave. There’s also a direct bus route that gets me there in about 45 minutes. SO much better. Sometimes I forget why the rest of the nation hates us.

    Whenever anybody asks me what the best LA neighborhood to live in is, I say “The one you work in.”

    1. Anonymous Educator

      Someone mentioned Santa Monica above – you would be hard pressed to find a 1-bedroom apartment for under $2000 a month.

      Living in San Francisco has skewed so much my sense of what’s expensive that my first reaction to you saying this was “Only $2000?!”

    2. MissDissplaced

      I lived there for 20 years and traffic was always bad. You have to move where the job is or it’s not feasible.
      Even same side of town can be 2 hours if it rains!

  223. Not Rebee

    I think that’s on the long side even for LA. I live in OC and my commute into downtown LA would take no more than an hour and a half (I did this for about a year not too long ago) so I don’t know how you could live in LA and commute to LA and have it take 2. My current commute from the northwest corner of OC to the south Irvine area takes me 45 minutes and I think this is roughly standard for this general area.

  224. Yomi

    Granted my commute is about an hour each way, but I spend none of that actually behind the wheel of a car so I could spend it doing any number of useful and/or interesting things so I don’t mind it so much.

    Two hours is not normal and it’s decreasing not just your quality of life but your health. There’s a lot of data out there suggesting how bad commutes are for you in a lot of ways people don’t typically think of. Even if it was “normal” for the area, that means the area is terrible and I wouldn’t want to live or work there.

  225. Jordan

    I’m in the Boston area. Even though it’s not far as the crow flies, I have to budget up to 90 minutes to get to work. It doesn’t seem excessive compared to the commutes of others in my office.

    It’s 4 – 5 miles between my house and the T station (depends on the route). At rush hour, it can take 40 minutes or more, but I usually have the luxury of working from home in the morning and then going to the office. Around noon, it takes about 30 minutes – sometimes 20 if, for some reason, there’s no traffic. Then I wait for the bus and ride 25-30 minutes (2.3 – 3 miles). The later I leave, the longer I usually have to sit around waiting for the bus, which adds to the total time.

    I lived and worked in L.A. in the ’80s, and I spent 60 minutes driving each way. I’m not surprised that it has doubled as of today.

  226. Cute Li'l UFO

    I live 27 miles out of SF and would drive to BART (20-30 minutes) and then ride into the city (30 mins or so). I’ve also taken the local Transbay bus into the city at other times. I’ve been fortunate in seeking work close to public transit.

    My last contract was about 40 miles away from my domicile and I drove. The traffic headed to Hayward was absolutely miserable, the traffic on the main road I took in Hayward was miserable (Why did the chicken cross Industrial Boulevard?), and the JOB was miserable. I am 100% surprised there were no bite marks in my steering wheel by the end of it. They were flexible on start times but I always tried to shoot for 9:30 or earlier versus 10 because I wanted OUT. I could leave at a certain time and usually expect that everything would work out, but sometimes the world said “Nah, let’s make a car careen off the road today.”

    I know people who commute from Napa to Oakland, or Sacramento to San Francisco. Some are cut out for it. I know that I absolutely could not stand sit behind the wheel of my sporty little 2 seater, inching ever slowly in traffic.

    It can be normal just off of congestion. When the commute impacts your quality of life it’s definitely time to think of solutions.

  227. Afiendishthingy

    Currently my commute is somewhere between 80-130 minutes each way depending on traffic, but it’s a temporary contract job (5 months) and I have an untaxed stipend for mileage/food/lodging. (I get to keep whatever I don’t spend.) I usually spend a couple nights a week closer to work at a hotel or Airbnb, but that’s also kind of a hassle.

    My commute is outlandish for here in New England. It’s also just far— 75 miles one way— which is definitely preferable to going 0-15 miles an hour for 30 miles.

    It sounds like L.A. commutes are hellish by definition, but it seems like it shouldn’t be impossible to find something where at least your hours are a little more flexible. Good luck, and I feel your pain! I’m running out of podcasts to binge.

  228. Ghost Town

    My commute is about 20-30 minutes, including a daycare dropoff. It can easily fudge up to 45+ minutes if Mr. Town and I carpool and we decide to stop for breakfast. We live in the same town where we work, but across a dividing highway with limited cross-over options, so some of it is just crossing the highway or navigating campus traffic.
    We used to live the next county over, and our commute was easily 45+ minutes (including daycare dropoff). Again, most of the time for that commute was in-town, close to campus and the rest of is was 45-55+ mph on state roads.
    That was enough for us. We had to carpool (one care) and it was fine most of the time, but if something came up, the logistics got complicated. It also made us think twice about coming back to town to see friends, etc.
    Mr. Town used to live in Atlanta and would like to move back (family), but now, having gotten used to our level of traffic and commute, it is going to take a lot for us to actually get back there. (As in enough for us to live comfortably close to where-ever we work, b/c h-to-the-no for that level of commute every day)

  229. stuck in traffic

    I think your commute is longer than average for LA standards. I can tell you that commute time varies greatly by where you live, where you work, and the hours you work.

    I have lived in the LA area most of my life. Until the position currently hold, I was lucky to have 20-30 minute commutes. And that was for the majority of my working career. I am in Orange County and it takes me anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour to drive 14 miles. Not as long as your commute, but still longer than what I am used to. My husband’s commute is about the same in terms of time, but he drives 32 miles. My sister drives even further, close to 60 miles, and her commute is about an hour. But that same commute on Friday afternoon will take two hours.

  230. Pinky

    I live/work in northern VA (just south of DC), and traffic is notoriously bad here, as well, though not as bad as in LA. Part of the reason for this is that DC obviously has a lot of federal employees, but rent in the district (and even just outside of it!) is not affordable at all. On top of that, the metro doesn’t extend that far outside of DC. A lot of people do drive to metro stations, park, and ride the train, but metro has been hiking fares and cutting hours for years. DC has a total population of like 600,000 people, but huge numbers commute in from MD and VA every day for work. I live about 12-13 miles from where I work. When there’s no traffic (AKA weekends, or days when OPM has delayed arrival and I’m the last to know) I can get there in about 30 minutes. Most days, it’s at least an hour. Same situation at my last job, too. The only faster routes are toll roads, and those add up. I started taking local roads, which didn’t save me any time but did save my sanity because at least it wasn’t stop and go. I would move closer to work but can’t afford it. Some days when I’m apartment hunting, I’ll see listings like “$1300/mo for a 500 sq ft studio apartment above a garage, no stove” and it’s really demoralizing.

    1. Carbovore

      I live in Southern MD and commute to College Park–co-sign everything you said!

      The best thing I could find to do was use alternate county backroads to get home once I got off the beltway–it doesn’t get me home any faster but as I tell my husband, it’s the “illusion” of getting home faster because at least I’m constantly moving and not killing my knees pumping the brakes!

  231. Iris Eyes

    That’s ridiculous, seriously that’s 20 hours a week driving. Your life isn’t long enough for that.

    Options: Bike to work, surely you can average 15mph and then you have the added benefit of cutting out the gym.
    Do a cost analysis and see what it would cost you to move. You are lucky your BF already thinks long commutes are normal so what does he care where he lives (presuming you even need to take his opinion into account at all). The time, the increased risk of harm, the wear and tear on your car and nerves. If you were able to be close enough to work and be car free how much money could you afford to spend on housing to make that happen?

  232. Yorkshire Rose

    Growing up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, my friends’ parents would take the Metra train into Chicago for their jobs. Easily 1.5 -2 hours one way but these were spectacular paying jobs, like 6 figure salaries. Eventually, jobs like that started drying up and people have been moving out of IL since.

    I moved out of state and ended up driving anywhere from 35 – 90 minutes one way to work, depending on traffic, what time I left, and if there was a fender bender on the one highway I could feasibly take to my job. My husband and I ended up moving to a more central location in our city so that we could be close to our current jobs and also so that if we ever switched jobs, we wouldn’t have to deal with an unpredictable commute like we did before. The bus system here is a joke and there are no trains to take, so driving is the only real option for us. My current commute is now 15 minutes and my husband’s is 5 minutes (he takes his bike instead of his car sometimes, weather permitting), and it really makes a difference in our quality of life. Like others have already said you have to do what’s best for you and what you can tolerate. If I lived in a more metropolitan area I wouldn’t mind a 1-2 hour commute on mass transit because there would be less stress (not navigating traffic) and I could feasibly check work emails or do anything else on my phone.

  233. Carbovore

    I live in southern MD and commute two counties north of me for work–on amazing days (think unicorns farting rainbows rarity) it’s 45 minutes each way. A typical day is an hour each way and terrible days (rain, accidents, ungodly traffic) is between 1.5 and 2 hours each way.

    Most people I work with have 20-30 minute commutes and think what I do is crazy but I guess it’s fine with me because a) my first career was in retail and I’ll never do it again, not even for a 5 minute commute and b) I’m an introverted homebody and don’t have too many personal obligations that the commute would make me hate life. (No kids, no plans for kids, just husband and dog and the enjoyment of my couch and tv.)

    Coworkers often wonder why we don’t move closer–the cost of living is crazy higher and we wouldn’t be able to afford it. Sure, we could afford living in a shoebox with a 15 minute commute but that wouldn’t be preferable. (And in fact, for a year, my husband and I rented a condo apartment 15 minutes away from work and while the commute was amazing, the living arrangements were just way too small.)

    We weighed the options and decided we’d rather have an awesome place to come home to rather than a bed in a bare room.

    So, kind of like Alison suggested–you have to weigh what makes you happiest and what you’re willing to deal with.

  234. biff welly

    30 miles is the other side of town for LA. I’m guessing maybe you live in one of the valleys and are working on the westside (or vice versa). You should really consider relocating to be closer if its the job you like or finding something closer to where you live. Its not going to get any better.

    You can consider public transit, I took the redline from the SF Valley into downtown for several years as part of my regular commute and I loved it, super convenient. There might be a convenient public transit option for you.

  235. Uhmealeah

    I wanted to comment on the general question, too. I have lived in CA for the last 16 years, & been in LA for the last 13. Although I was in school for the first few years in LA, I also consider this a commute. With a handful of transitional weeks as the exception, I’ve had anywhere from a 5-30 minute commute the entire time in LA. I currently live and work in LB and on a good day, it’s 7 minutes from door to door. I have commuted from LB or South Pas to LAX/El Segundo, but I moved housing or office as quickly as possible. Most of my friends live 25-30 miles north, so I see them on the weekends or evenings when I can do the drive sans traffic. I would rather sit in traffic because I want to see someone than be obligated to endure the stress on a daily basis.

    I get defensive about it: I think long commutes being interpreted as the norm give LA a bad name. It’s a big place, like any major metropolitan area, where traffic sucks and there are bad drivers and stressful commutes. There are crappy parts and amazing parts and it sounds like a lot of us call this place home. Also, I’m super surprised about how many AAM readers live in LB – yay for us!

    Good luck with your job search, OP, and good luck to all of those struggling with a commute that makes you scream!

  236. ronda

    in Atlanta.

    my commute is between 6.5 and 9 miles depending on the route and takes at least 30 minutes. If there is a problem it gets worse (on all my possible routes).

    My job before I was 3.5 miles from work and it took about 15 minutes in the morning (thanks to 13 traffic lights) and at least 30 minutes in the evening.

    1. Mrs. Fenris

      I’m in Atlanta too. My old commute was 12 miles and it took 30 minutes, and my current one is 9 miles and it takes 35 minutes. Old job was against traffic, current one is…kind of across it. The idea of driving into the city center or to the other side of the metro area makes me shudder. Life is too short.

      1. Mrs. Fenris

        Oh, and my old commute had 17 traffic lights. So once in a blue moon, I would hit them all, and when that happened my commute took 45 minutes. Not a thing I could do about it.

  237. President Porpoise

    So, I’ve actually literally known people who have bought small planes and gotten pilot’s licenses to cut down a 2 hour commute in the ruralish west. That’s how crazy two hours is.

    For reference – that will easily take you from Tucson to Phoenix.

    1. Mrs. Fenris

      The previous owner of a place I do some IC work flew helicopters as a hobby and there was an old helipad behind the building. I used to have a mental picture of him saying the hell with this traffic and just commuting by helicopter.

  238. Diamond

    You’re commuting about 20-24 hours a week! An entire day! It doesn’t really matter what your boyfriend thinks is normal if that’s simply unsustainable for you. It would be unsustainable for a LOT of people. I would 100% not be able to do that.

    I live in a tiny town so my commute is 5 minutes driving (allow 10 minutes door-to-door). When I lived in a bigger city is was probably 30 minutes.

  239. KF

    That does seem excessive, especially given the distance. I used to commute to San Francisco from Redwood City and even taking the express train and express bus to the financial district and back it still took me 2 – 2 1/2 hours per day (twenty minutes of that was driving the one mile home from the train station), and I thought that was a lot. I also knew many many people who commuted to the central valley from the Bay Area on a daily basis because that’s where they could afford to buy a house – and that could be two hours each way which sounded like a nightmare (the commute and cost of housing is why I no longer live in CA).

  240. Diamond

    Ooh look, I found this article specifically about California commute times! The worst place is Stockton, where 8% of commuters travel 90 minutes or more to work. In LA only 3% travel more than 90 minutes. So you can categorically say that your 2+ hour commute is not normal.

    1. Diamond

      Link is in moderation, but the article is called ‘California Today: The Rise of the Super Commuter’

  241. Bostonian

    Before I moved to Boston, I lived 40 miles away and had a commute that was 1.5-1.75 hours in each direction, depending on train speed/how early I left to get parking, etc.

    I agree with most people that having 1 hour of it be by train made it OK for the year I was doing it.

    The few times I drove in (a 45 minute drive without traffic), it was 1-1.5 hours each way. I couldn’t imagine doing that every day. Obviously, the traffic in LA is even worse. I have no good advice, just sympathy! The fact that you are making time for the gym/yoga is commendable!

  242. Silicon Valley Girl

    Read a zillion comments & all I can think of is that here in California we are really suffering with tons of jobs but zero transit & housing solutions (sigh). Long commutes come with the booming economy & the sunshine. I work at a major internet company & plenty of my coworkers have 2-3 hour commutes. My manager flies in from another state one week out of the month. A couple of my team members fly in for half the week from LA or San Diego. I’m one of the rare people who live in the same city as my employer, although only because I can’t afford to move. Long commutes are the price we pay for a job sometimes.

  243. K. A.

    Our commute to Washington, DC is 2-3 hours each way, depending on the time of day. On Fridays in the sunmertime, it can be even longer. We live 35 miles south of he district.

  244. MissDissplaced

    Yeah, like so totally normal!
    Former Calli girl here. It once took me 3 hours to drive the 15 miles from west LA to Torrance. And there wasn’t an accident or anything, just traffic.
    Welcome to life in LaLaLand!

  245. Handy nickname

    I live 15-20 minutes from work- a mile to the interstate, then the interstate to a 65 mph highway. I work slightly before rush hour, and love driving as long as there’s little to no traffic, so it’s perfect for me. I’d take ~40 minute commute on highway or backroads over 15 minutes through neighborhoods and stoplights any day of the week though. (Also no left turns! I hate left turns, and there’s only one to turn onto the freeway entrance ramp, and it’s pretty low traffic right there.)

  246. Michael Garcia

    Oh man, try working here in a developing nation in Asia like Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines and you’ll realize just how fortunate you guys are. 2-hour commutes are something we are used to and we’ve even experienced what we call “carmageddon”; wherein rush hour is like a huge parking lot and it took 4 friggin’ hours to get home (that’s right! 4! One way!). My point – count your blessings everytime you feel that your commute of 1 hour took too long.

  247. Vauxhall Prefect

    I’ve done a 90 minute commute for a while, but that was a solid train trip where I’d reliably get a seat and could happily play with my phone or read to unwind on the journey to and from work. I had an hour long commute by car not long ago and I found that audiobooks made the journey so much more enjoyable. I just connect some mini speakers to my phone and spend the commute listening to a book. Makes the journey so much more enjoyable, to the extent that sometimes I’m even looking forward to getting into the car for an extended period. (It’s slightly embarrassing for a 38 year old guy to admit, but during my last 6 month contract I managed to get through the whole Harry Potter series. Loved going through them again, and Stephen Fry was so good at the narration.)

    Two hours feels like more than I could stand as a daily thing even with audiobooks, but I really can’t recommend audiobooks (and podcasts) enough for relieving the stress of commuting to work. I probably massively bore my friends lately by pushing audiobooks and going on about my favourites.

  248. Denise

    Here’s a tip – get a plug-in hybrid like a Volt, a Prius, a Ford Fusion Energi, or something like that. They qualify for the green stickers that allow you to use the carpool lane, even if you’re driving solo. I have plenty of coworkers doing just this. Me personally, I’m taking a vanpool from the IE to the OC. We have to take the dreaded 91, but since there’s 3+ people in the van, we get to use the 91 toll lanes for free. Then, the last half of our commute is on the (usually unclogged) toll road to south Orange County. It turned what used to be a 2-hour commute for me to an hour’s drive.

  249. Jemima Bond

    I may be being naive (I’ve never been to the US) but LA is a big and densely populated city – doesn’t it have any public transport you could use, like suburban trains, a metro, buses? It might not make the commute much shorter but at least you could relax and read a book. I can understand small town areas/tgecountryside jusr not having the infrastructure (I grew up in a market town with regular buses to one larger town but anywhere else you could forget it, and the station was about three miles away) but I’m just really surprised a major city wouldn’t have public transport facilities?

    1. Someone who understands

      Los Angeles is known for having terrible public transportation. Depending on where LW lives and works, it’s likely that there aren’t direct routes AND that even if there were, it could increase commuting time by an hour (easily).

    2. Actuary

      The U.S. is different than some countries in that many big cities don’t have great public transportation. The Northeast is pretty good, but the West was largely developed after the invention of cars and things are much more spread out / there has been less investment in public transportation. There are only a handful of cities where you can really rely on public transportation.

  250. laylaaaaah

    My old job used to get us to commute to a neighbouring city a couple of times a week- 1.5-2 hours each way. That was unsustainable, and eventually higher management began to push back against the practice too (the travel money was expense-able, and it was eating into our profits like woah).

    Also, are there no public transport options at all where you live? As Jemima said above, that would make it much easier than a long drive.

  251. Fish girl

    I didn’t read most of the comments, but I did want to give advice on how to survive that commute while you have to do it (hopefully, not for long!). I’m in the DC area and for a year my commute was 1 hr in the morning and 2.5 hr in the afternoon (on good days) so I feel your pain. (And then for 2 more yrs, it was “only” an hr each way.) Here’s what got me through it:

    -Audiobooks and podcasts (you can get free books through Overdrive and Hoopla with your library card). Radio gets old real quick. I told myself my commute was just 3.5 hr of reading time that I normally wouldn’t allow myself, so really, I was the lucky one (positivity and denial were really helpful too!)
    -A big bag of your favorite nuts and some icy cold water. I’m not a caffeine user, so I found that eating and drinking was the best way to keep myself awake on long drives. Plus I got hungry on that long commute. Nuts are a healthier way to snack than some other poor choices I could’ve made.
    -Have a go-to sing-a-long playlist. When I was really tired, even audiobooks and nuts couldn’t keep me awake. Singing/ screaming along to some really loud music was the only thing left in my bag of tricks.
    -Check accidents before you leave to go home. Stay around the work area if it looks unbearable. Like most long commuters, my drive home was the worst and one little fender bender could tack another hour on my drive. If it looked awful to go home, I just wouldn’t. Find a coffee shop or library, get shopping done, get a haircut, or take your coworkers out for drinks until later in the evening when everything’s died down.
    -Don’t complain about the commute or traffic. After sitting in your car for 4 hours, don’t waste any of your time TALKING about sitting in your car. People love to gripe about traffic, but it only will make you feel worse. I always changed the subject when people got bug-eyed about my commute time or complained about an accident. This was a really hard habit for me to break, but my quality of life got so much better when I just shrugged and said “It is what it is” about traffic and commuting.

  252. Kix

    I used to live in Los Angeles over by the Greek Theater, so I understand the traffic nightmares. (If you haven’t seen the movie “L.A. Story” with Steve Martin, the movie itself is stupid, but the part where he drives to work is hilarious because it’s so true.

    If you’re crawling on a freeway, have you considered surface streets? What I have found in many cities I’ve lived, including Los Angeles, is that even though a circuitous surface route might be slightly more miles, it can often be quicker than taking the freeway.

    I’m originally from Sacramento, and older than dirt. In my last semester of college in Sacramento in the mid 1970s, I lived in San Francisco with my boyfriend and commuted the 90 miles each day. Back then, there was very little traffic and I could do it in over an hour. It would be impossible now. Even here in Denver, where I now live, the population boom has been so dramatic that the traffic is starting to look like L.A. at rush hour.

  253. Someone who understands

    This is totally normal for Los Angeles (I’m a SoCal native who has lived here all my life).

    I think the issue is that you don’t have a friend circle yet. Many people jump on the freeway to get home right after work and they get stuck in that congestion, but lots of people use the time to get drinks / go to a park / hang out with friends for an hour or two and then the freeway has cleared up significantly.

    Since you’re feeling like you don’t have a life this might be an alternative for you, but it’s hard to make friends. Is your boyfriend’s work near yours? Maybe you can start taking a picnic dinner to a park with him. Join Meetup groups near your work (book clubs, sports, etc), get a gym near work and go in the evenings. Ride share with a coworker and alternate driving days so that this time is your ‘social’ time. Sitting in a car for 2 hours and driving 15 miles per hour for 2 hours are totally different things. Taking a break from driving can be really helpful.

    You’ll feel like you have a life AND traffic won’t be as much of an issue. Even 1-2 days a week avoiding that mess can make you feel a lot better.

  254. Carpool

    Try carpool with coworkers that live in or near Orange County. I had a long distance job and I was able to survive through it with carpooling. It can be fun and you get to bond with coworkers. However, I know not every long distance job has carpool buddies, so I understand that can be difficult.

    1. Original Poster!

      Unfortunately there are none. Small company full of hip millennials who are transplants and live in WeHo. Sigh!

  255. Chickaletta

    I lived in the Seattle area a couple years where I rented and had a 45-1hr commute. Had I stayed and purchased a house, the ones in my price range were 1.5-2 hours away. That’s the primary reason why I left Seattle. If other people want to live like that, that’s fine, but I did not. It’s a choice.

  256. Harry

    I worked from home full time for 10 years in LA….you can live anywhere and choose any job and be 5 min or 2 hours from your job.

  257. Actuary

    It surprises me a bit that you didn’t encounter people with bad commutes in New York. It’s pretty common there too, especially as a lot of people live in New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island, etc.

    I live in Brooklyn and my commute to downtown Manhattan is usually 40 to 50 minutes. 2 hours is bad and I wouldn’t call it normal. 30 minutes to an hour is probably normal range for cities with bad commutes. But 2 hours isn’t completely unheard of. Many of my coworkers who live in LA (and also many in New York) work from home often.

    1. Original Poster!

      I think it’s cause I worked in start ups and most folks, if they didn’t live in walking distance, lived very close by (like myself at the time).

  258. Charlottemousse

    I don’t think a 2-hour commute is normal, per se, in LA, but the few friends of mine who’ve suffered hour-plus commutes moved closer or quit their jobs; it’s generally not a sustainable commute to go more than an hour, from what I’ve seen. I think the conclusion usually is that life is too short to suffer and waste that kind of time. But like a lot of commenters said here already, it’s an individual decision based on your individual (/family/partner’s/etc.) needs and desires, not really about what’s normal.
    My commute from West LA to downtown LA is about 25-45 min (it’s somewhat a reverse commute), which seems about average when talking with other friends.

    1. Meredith

      In LA it’s particularly important to live in a neighborhood that’s not awful for getting to your job and other things you do on a regular basis. I worked in Sherman Oaks/Encino and lived in West Hollywood. My husband worked in Culver City. Totally do-able (especially when I worked east of Sepulveda and took Laurel Canyon). My coworkers who lived in Manhattan Beach and had to take the 405 or Echo Park and took the 101 the whole way hated their lives.

  259. Laura

    I do a 75-minute commute by public transport, but I live in London and an hour for the commute is pretty standard here. I could make it shorter if I got the tube (metro) rather than the bus for part of it, but I prefer that as I normally get a seat on the bus and I can read rather than being wedged into someone’s armpit. That said, I do come into work a little earlier when the public transport system is quieter, and I suspect it’d be closer to an hour and a half if I left the house at a more ‘normal’ time.

    The best commute I had was at my previous job, when I could go from desk to front door in 45 minutes – practically unheard of here!

  260. Meredith

    I used to live in Los Angeles. Before I got my own place I was temporarily living with a friend in Long Beach and commuting to Van Nuys. It was 2 hours each way. I, too, went to be by 9 and woke up at 5 – left at 6:20 or so and got home around 7 or later. I did that for 6 weeks and It felt like 2 years. I got an apartment with a roommate 3 miles away from my office after that. Eventually, I moved in with my now-husband and my commute went to 11 miles/35 minutes (unless something was going on at the Hollywood Bowl and I forgot to take an alternate exit – then it was 50).

    I now live in the Philadelphia area and my last job was an hour commute – either 44 miles on the turnpike or 26 miles in stop-and-go city traffic. Many other issues made that job unsustainable, but the commute was icing on the cake.

    I love my 30 minute commute on laid back country roads now. It beats everything but the three years I worked from home. :)

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