(KRON) — Some companies are making their employees return to in-person work after working from home became common during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many workers in the Bay Area, that is bad news.

According to a new study from the Chamber of Commerce, the two cities with the most costly commutes in the United States are in the Bay Area.

Over a year, it costs San Francisco commuters $12,650.56 on average to get to and from work. The second-priciest city is Fremont, which costs its commuters $12,048.32 per year.

The study says the average round-trip commute for someone living in San Francisco is 58.4 minutes daily. In Fremont, that number is 55.2 minutes. Based on the median hourly wage in those cities, it costs San Francisco commuters $48.66 per day to get to and from work, and $46.34 for Fremont commuters.

Washington D.C., Jersey City and New York City rounded out the list’s top five. Other Bay Area cities to make the list were Sunnyvale (No. 8, $10,354.08), Oakland (No. 17, $8,415.01), San Jose (No. 18, $8,394.62) and Hayward (No. 22, $7,827.61).

“Overall, commuters in nine out of the top 10 cities lose an average of $10,000 worth of wages or more per year on commuting,” the Chamber of Commerce wrote. “That’s nearly twice as much as the nationwide cost for commuters, which is $5,748 per year, or $22.11 per day.”

If you’re looking for a city with a short commute, try Lubbock, TX. With the convenient Loop 289 stretching around the city, Lubbock’s average commute time is just 31.6 minutes round trip — the shortest of the 170 cities measured. In terms of cost, the Hub City has the second-cheapest commute behind Jackson, MS.


The study seeks to answer this question: “What is the actual cost of a commute for those who find themselves trapped in traffic without getting paid for it?”

To determine how much each commute costs, the Chamber of Commerce took the median wage for full-time employees and the average commute time for each city. They then multiplied the wage per minute by the average round-trip commute time.

Full-time, year-round workers were defined as people 16 years or older who worked 35+ hours per week for 50-52 weeks per year.