New Yorkers Desperate for Shorter Commutes

New York declared a transportation state of emergency in June, but years of disinvestment have left urbanites longing and plotting for shorter commutes.


The nation's largest subway appears to be no better after the Summer of Hell, as defined by Governor Andrew Cuomo in June when he declared the state-owned New York City public transit system operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to be in a state of emergency. Things like signaling problems, disabled trains, splintered wood and 'smoke conditions' plague New Yorkers' commutes on the daily, leaving them pining or paying for shorter commutes, such as the author of this anonymous Facebook post from September 20th:

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Shorter Commutes are Their Own Pay Raise

It seems New Yorkers will pay $56 per month more in rent to shave a minute off their commute, according to a 2016 analysis of real estate listing by Fivethirtyeight.com.

Conversely, longer commutes caused by planned repairs, such as the 2019 plan for New York's L-train connecting Williamsburg and Brooklyn, are expected to reduce rents for one-bedroom apartments during the shutdown by $200 to $450 per month.

These days, it's not unusual for delays on the ailing subways and buses to increase commutes by half an hour, on each end, regardless of where commuters live. A recent report indicated that by the end of August, frustrating delays had already cost the city's workforce 17,000 lost hours so far this year.

In general, urbanites are willing to spend more on rent for shorter commutes because of the spike in happiness. Proximity that affords shorter commutes may even have cash equivalency, suggested one National Geographic researcher:

"If you can cut an hour-long commute each way out of your life, it's the [happiness] equivalent of making up an extra $40,000 a year if you're at the $50- to $60,000 level. Huge ... [So] it's an easy way for us to get happier. Move closer to your place of work," Dan Buettner told National Public Radio in a 2011 interview about his five-year study of the world's happiest places.

MTA transit riders voice their concerns freely and often with pictures and updates on the failing transit system. One Astoria rider is regularly quoted by local news outlets for his MTA tweets of frustration:

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