MELISSA BLOCK, host:
If you're listening to us right now, most likely you are not riding an ATV but you may well be in the middle of your commute home. If you commute to and from work like the average American, it takes you 25 minutes and six seconds one way.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
That number comes from a survey released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The bureau studies travel time to work. Those of you who work at home just don't count. It was no trouble finding people who commute much longer than the average in downtown Washington, D.C. today.
Unidentified Man #1: I commute from Stafford, Virginia and it takes me about an hour and fifteen minutes to get from Stafford to D.C. It's about 44 miles for me from door to door. It's just something for me to deal with to make a living and commute from the suburbs.
Unidentified Woman #1: I love in Laurel, Maryland so I take the MARC train and hop on the Red Line for a couple of stops so it's not that bad. It's about an hour and fifteen minutes each way and I get to read the whole time.
Unidentified Woman #2: My commute into work is about 20 minutes. Ten to 15 if there is no traffic. Nice and easy.
Unidentified Man #2: I live up by the National Cathedral. It's about four miles from my office. On a good day it's a 20-minute drive for four miles.
Unidentified Man #3: Right in front of the Naval Observatory if the Vice President is coming out in the morning it can be a disaster because they close the road and he comes out whenever he chooses to come out. It can really cause havoc when the motorcade is coming through.
BLOCK: The travails of the commute in our nation's capital as described by David Fontaine, Glenn Northmoldro(ph), Laura Sauder and Mark Marshal.
SIEGEL: And as we heard, Marshal lives in Stafford County, Virginia, which came in fifth in the nation if you rank the longest commute by county. The average there is 41 minutes. Outranking Stafford are Coweta County, Georgia and the following three counties in New York State. Richmond County also known as Staten Island and the counties also New York City boroughs of Queens and the Bronx.
BLOCK: Which means the many New York City commuters can't take it easy on their morning commute like this.
Ms. SARAH WATSON (Resident, Fargo, North Dakota): Well, I try to get up around 9:00, but sometimes I hit snooze until 9:30 and then hop on my bike about 9:45.
BLOCK: Sarah Watson lives in Fargo, North Dakota. Her commute by bike takes all of 10 minutes. She's one antidotal example for the state with the shortest average commute according to the census numbers and that suits her just fine.
Ms. WATSON: I probably wouldn't want to commute further than 15 minutes. However by bicycle it's flat enough here if you were really motivated you can get anywhere in about twenty minutes I suppose.
SIEGEL: Well, biking just is not an option for mechanical engineer James McLachlan. He lives in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan.
Mr. JAMES MCLACHLAN (Manhattan resident): Every morning I leave the house at about fifteen to seven. I walk for 12 minutes over to Time Square where I go down into the subway station and catch the shuttle over to Grand Central Terminal. Got off there and get a cup of coffee. Get on the Metro North, Hudson Line train and travel an hour and 45 minutes north to Poughkeepsie, whereby I get off and get into my car, which I keep permanently parked in the Poughkeepsie Train Station garage, and drive the last four miles to Highland, New York, where I work.
SIEGEL: How much of your day is spent in transit to and from work when you're commuting?
Mr. MCLACHLAN: I figure it's roughly five hours and fifteen minutes.
SIEGEL: Five hours and fifteen minutes of the day traveling to and from work.
Mr. MCLACHLAN: Yes.
SIEGEL: How do you feel about those five hours a day? What do you get done during the five hours when you're in transit there and back?
Mr. MCLACHLAN: Well the only thing that's made it worthwhile is the fact that I bought a laptop and taught myself some complicated engineering software by the name of Pro Engineer. That's really most of my motive for putting up with that for that long of a commute.
SIEGEL: You could probably learn Mandarin for the hours that you're spending at commuting.
Mr. MCLACHLAN: Probably could learn a foreign language, yes.
SIEGEL: What time do you get home?
Mr. MCLACHLAN: Around 8:40.
SIEGEL: Around 8:40 at night.
Mr. MCLACHLAN: I leave at 6:00 from Highland and I get home around 8:40.
SIEGEL: Mr. Mclachlan thank you very much for talking with us.
Mr. MCLACHLAN: Thank you very much.
SIEGEL: It was very nice to talk to you. That's James McLachlan, a mechanical engineer with a very long commute.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.