In the interest of helping customers save on transportation costs and take advantage of reward points, Citi recently studied the habits of commuters and found that while the average worker spends more than $2,500 a year getting to work, the daily commute is actually embraced by a majority of people.
More than two-thirds of survey respondents called their commute the only “me” time they get, including 72% of women. During that time, they enjoy listening to music (85%), treating themselves to a beverage or a snack (40%), taking a scenic route (33%), or calling friends and family (27%).
Most people (76%) looked at their commute as an opportunity to relax, but some industrious souls (24%) said they use their commuting time to be productive.
How long, and how much money?
The average commute was 45 minutes, except in the Northeast, where it was 56 minutes. Times were broken down as follows:
• 1-10 minutes (17%)
• 11-30 minutes (30%)
• 31-60 minutes (35%)
• 61 or more minutes (18%)
As for how much money people are spending, the average was $10 per day, with the following responses:
• None (17%)
• $1-5 (36%)
• $6-10 (24%)
• $11-20 (15%)
• $21 or more (8%)
Bikes, trains, cars, and the pests of public transit
Citi sponsors a bike-share program in New York City, CitiBike. New Yorkers have the longest average commute, at 73 minutes. In the survey, Citi asked respondents their feelings about biking to work. Almost half (49%) those folks who don’t already commute by bike said they would take advantage of a bike-share program if they had one in their area. Chicago and Los Angeles, which don’t have bike-share programs currently, were prime candidates for the program: 60% of Chicagoans and 59% of Los Angelinos said they were likely to use a bike-share service.
Most people still drive to work, with 77% of respondents saying they take their car every day. Twenty-one percent take the bus, 9% use the subway, and 8% hop a train to work. The biggest cost of commuting is gas, with 79% of people stating that fueling up their car is the most expensive part of commuting.
One perk of driving is not having to deal with the annoyances of public transit—namely, the “germ spreader,” dreaded by 46% of commuters, and “the talker” feared by 18% of public transportation takers.
The Citi ThankYou Premier Commuter Survey was conducted online between May 5 and May 12, 2015, and included responses from 1,000 adults in the United States. Local surveys were also done in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. The Citi ThankYou Premier card gives members three reward points for every dollar spent on travel including gas, taxis, car services, public transportation, parking, tolls, and bike shares.