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The Best and Worst Cities for Commuting

Delays. Soaring costs. Manspreading. These are just three of the hardships endured by commuters on a daily basis that make the journey to and from work a thoroughly miserable experience for many.

According to a report by the Independent Budget Office, in the 12-month period ending May 2017 straphangers in New York lost a combined 35,000 hours every weekday morning because of delayed subway trains. A figure up 45% compared to the same period in 2011/12.

But just how bad do workers in the Big Apple have it? Is a New Yorker’s commute any worse than a Londoner’s, or a Parisian’s? How does it compare to those faced by workers in West Coast cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego?

Expert Market set out to answer these questions once and for all with the most comprehensive study of commuting in global cities to date.

Expert Market looked at 74 commuter hotspots in 16 countries, analyzing seven data points.

The Top 10

The best cities for commuting
Rank Country City Score
1 France Nice 11.05
2 Ecuador Cuenca 14.78
3 Spain Bilbao 15.08
4 France Toulouse 16.02
5 Italy Catania 17.82
6 Italy Bari 18.83
7 France Lyon 18.94
8 Italy Bologna 20.27
9 France Strasbourg 20.56
10 UK Leicester 24.47

Nice nabs the top spot

Already famed for its stunning architecture and world-class restaurants, Nice can now add ‘best city for commuting’ to the long list of things that make it such an appealing destination for Europeans.

Commuters in Nice enjoy fantastic value for money from the city’s transport network, paying on average just 1.25% of their monthly salary for a travel card — less than half of the 3.09% that New Yorkers fork out.

The average time spent traveling to and from work each day is a chilled 40 minutes, just about long enough to get in an episode of your favorite podcast, and road users spend only 22 hours stuck in traffic jams over the course of a year.

The Bottom 10

The worst cities for commuting
Rank Country City Score
65 UK London 68.18
66 USA Miami 72.87
67 Colombia Cali 75.96
68 Brazil Brasilia 77.52
69 Canada Toronto 78.56
70 Brazil Salvador 78.71
71 Turkey Istanbul 81.78
72 Brazil Sao Paulo 83.71
73 Colombia Bogota 84.12
74 Brazil Rio de Janeiro 86.26

Commuters in Brazil Fare Worst

If you love pina coladas then by all means go to Rio. They’ve got buckets of the stuff there. But if journey times in excess of 90 minutes and extortionate fares aren’t your thing, then it’s probably best to avoid working in the city of carnival.

Rio ranks bottom on our list because of the high cost of public transport relative to earnings. A monthly travel card is priced around $55, which works out as 9.4% of the average net monthly salary.

Commuters spend 19 minutes a day waiting around for a bus or train, and when one finally arrives, they travel a full 12.3 km to the office. That’s the third longest journey undertaken by workers in any city in the study.

These poor figures are reflected across all Brazilian cities. Of the eight we looked at, seven rank in the bottom 20, with four in the bottom seven. And while there’s no denying that these results are pretty damning of the country’s transport infrastructure, it’s worth noting that the average population size of Brazilian cities in the study is 6,246,760. In contrast, the seven French cities we analyzed, four of which are in the top 10, average 2,903,078 inhabitants.

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