Cleveland Commuters Who Spend 90 Minutes or More Getting to Work Each Day Are Disproportionately Public Transit Users


  • Courtesy: RTA

About 12,445 Clevelanders spent 90 minutes or more getting to work each day in 2016, according to a study released this week by Apartment List. It qualifies them as "super commuters," and while the overall number dipped slightly from 2015, and while other cities have far more residents in that category, it's a subset of that data that once again puts Cleveland's abysmal public transit system into focus.

While 93.8% of all commuters in Cleveland travel to work in a car, only 58.3% of super commuters do. The disparity between the number of Northeast Ohio commuters spending 90-plus minutes schlepping to work by public transit compared to driving is the second-highest among major metro areas, according to the study. Nationwide, 91.4% of commuters traveling under 90 minutes do so in a car, compared to 69.7% of super commuters.


And, largely, those commuters aren't hopping on the bus or rail by choice: 55.5% of Cleveland's super commuters fall below the area's median income level.


"For regular commuters, 5.2 percent of those below the median income use public transportation, compared to 1.8 percent of those above the median income. In Cleveland — and other metros without robust transportation — it’s likely that with a car, or more efficient public transportation, super commuters in these metros would experience shorter commutes," the report says. "In metros such as Las Vegas, Cleveland and San Antonio, public transportation improvements would ease the time burden on lower-income commuters. These commuters often rely on slow and unreliable transportation not by choice but out of necessity. A 2015 Harvard study found that 'commuting time emerged as the single strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty.' Investing in public transportation will not only relieve some of the burden on low-income super commuters, but will lead to more residents using transportation by choice instead of financial desperation."

Maybe someday one of our local leaders will pay attention or experience it firsthand themselves.

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