This man spends 8 hours every day commuting. He's not alone.

San Francisco’s high housing costs mean workers often choose to live far from the city. For Andy Ross, it’s a 240-mile round-trip.

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San Francisco’s high housing costs mean its workers often choose to live far from the city. For Andy Ross, it’s a 240-mile round-trip.
This story appears in the April 2019 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Four days a week Andy Ross travels—by car, train, and bus—120 miles from his home in Auburn, California, to his job at a bank in San Francisco. His eight-hour round-trip typically begins at 6 a.m. He’ll be at his desk by 10, having begun work earlier on his laptop. He leaves the office by 4 p.m. and arrives home about 8.

Ross became a “supercommuter” eight years ago, after he left a tech business and took the bank job. He joined nearly 105,000 people who spend at least 90 minutes getting to jobs in the Bay Area. Ross and his wife kept their four-bedroom home in Auburn rather than move to San Francisco, where the median price is $1.4 million—more than three times that in Auburn. “I love working at my job. As a result, I’m now doing this crazy commute,” he says. “There are a lot more of us long-haul commuters” than a decade ago.

ON THE ROAD

AGAIN ...AND AGAIN

AVERAGE

TRAVEL TIME

TO WORK IN

MINUTES,

2013-17

U.S. average

26.4 minutes

METROPOLITAN

STATISTICAL

AREA*

New York

Washington

San Francisco

Riverside, CA

Chicago

Atlanta

Boston

Baltimore

Seattle

Los Angeles

36.3

34.6

32.8

32.1

31.6

31.4

31.0

30.8

30.1

30.0

*With more than two million people

RYAN MORRIS, NG STAFF

SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

ON THE ROAD

AGAIN ...AND AGAIN

AVERAGE

TRAVEL TIME

TO WORK IN

MINUTES,

2013-17

U.S. average

26.4 minutes

METROPOLITAN

STATISTICAL

AREA*

New York

Washington

San Francisco

Riverside, CA

Chicago

Atlanta

Boston

Baltimore

Seattle

Los Angeles

36.3

34.6

32.8

32.1

31.6

31.4

31.0

30.8

30.1

30.0

*With more than two million people

RYAN MORRIS, NG STAFF. SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU.