February 1, 2007

Many Toronto commuters thinking of quitting jobs to work closer to home, study says

Toronto, Ontario – A new commuter study in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) shows that commuting exacts a toll much heavier than realized, with two-thirds of drivers surveyed saying they are thinking of quitting their jobs to work closer to home.

The survey, funded by Transport Canada, Living Green and SuiteWorks Inc., also found that most worry about the greenhouse gas emissions they are adding to the atmosphere; they are spending $200 to $300 more per week than they actually think; and most long-distance commuters “hit a wall” after five years and want to stop commuting.

Commuters traveling south to the GTA along the Highway 400 corridor were invited to fill out an on-line questionnaire; 231 people responded.

To arrive on time to work, most of the Highway 400 commuters allocate between one and 1.5 hours for their one-way travel, leaving home between 5 and 7 a.m. The average one-way commute is 93 km. A survey in 2000 showed that 90 per cent drove alone; the recent study showed that 23 per cent now use carpools.

The commuters view telecommuting and flexible work arrangements as alternatives to commuting. Of the respondents, 16 per cent whose jobs are compatible already work at home or at an office close to home at least one day a week; 60 per cent would consider telecommuting.

Most of the respondents thought they spent only $100 to $200 per week commuting. Based on the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) rate of 43 cents per km, the weekly cost of the 200 km round-trip is $430, based on the cost of operating the fuel-efficient sedans that most respondents choose for their commute.

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