Residents in these 20 California cities have the worst commutes

State News

In this 2015 file photo, traffic slowly moves along the 101 Freeway during afternoon rush hour in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

When the COVID-19 pandemic made millions of Americans remote workers, it also abruptly ended many of the commutes that bookend the workday.

As some of those workers return to the office, however, conversations around the drawbacks of commutes have become more vocal. For a while, those workers enjoyed more time in the morning and evening that wasn’t spent simply traveling to and from work—an unpaid portion of the day that nevertheless eats up time and energy.

It’s not a small amount of time, either: Pre-pandemic, the average commute in the U.S. was a hair over 27 minutes one way, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. It was a record high. Cumulatively, 27 minutes each way translates to 54 minutes a day, or 4 1/2 hours per week. That’s 18 hours a month and 216 hours a year spent commuting.

Those who commute know it’s anything but idyllic. While a very small portion of workers live in the ideal scenario—a short, walkable distance from the office, along a sidewalk that is presumably regularly shoveled in the winter and where the temperature doesn’t result in a sweaty arrival in the summer—most endure clogged roads and unpredictable public transit.

Of course, not all commutes are as bad as others, and some cities have better public transit and traffic flow. Stacker compiled a list of the cities with the worst commutes in California using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Cities with at least 5,000 working adults are ranked by the longest average commute time as of the 2019 5-year estimate.

1. Mountain House
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 63.3
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 14.8%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 51.7%

2. Temescal Valley
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 49.8
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 24.2%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 39.8%

3. Discovery Bay
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 47.9
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 32.3%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 40.3%

4. Antioch
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 46.7
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 35.9%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 35.4%

5. Brentwood
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 46.2
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 37%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 38.1%

6. French Valley
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 46.1
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 38.6%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 37.2%

7. Lake Elsinore
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 45.5
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 32.3%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 32.5%

8. El Sobrante (Riverside County)
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 45.5
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 34.4%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 25.9%

9. Los Banos
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 45
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 47.1%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 37.8%

10. Tracy
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 44.9
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 38.6%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 36.6%

11. Patterson
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 44.5
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 39%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 31.1%

12. Lathrop
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 44.1
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 47.5%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 33.9%

13. Oakley
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 44
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 41.4%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 34.9%

14. Palmdale
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 43.7
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 45.4%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 35.9%

15. Pittsburg
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 43.6
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 36.9%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 31%

16. Menifee
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 42.9
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 40.7%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 29.8%

17. Clayton
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 42.8
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 36.3%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 30.5%

18. Phelan
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 42.6
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 33.4%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 27.1%

19. Hercules
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 42.2
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 31.3%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 30.7%

20. Eastvale
– Average time spent commuting to work (minutes): 41.3
— Percent of workers spending less than 30 minutes commuting: 37.2%
— Percent of workers spending more than an hour commuting: 26.9%

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