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Report: Tampa Bay among worst large U.S. metro areas for commuters

Only New York, San Antonio and San Francisco scored lower in a study conducted by Hire A Helper, a moving company.

  • By Brian Hartz
  • | 1:30 p.m. March 29, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
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A new study conducted by a moving company confirms what many Tampa Bay residents know all too well: The region is one of the worst for commuting to and from work.

According to Hire A Helper’s report, titled, “Cities to Avoid if You Hate Commuting,” Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater ranks No. 12 on the list, ahead of only New York-Newark-Jersey City; San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas; and the nation’s worst offender, San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley. No. 1 — meaning it’s the least bad — is Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California, and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Georgia. (Some familiar with traffic jams in Orlando and Atlanta might, of course, quibble with their "good" rankings.)

Hire A Helper evaluated each large metro area using criteria that included average one-way commute time, share of workers who commute using private transportation, diversity of times people leave for work, share of occupied households with access to a vehicle and population density (people per square mile).

Somewhat surprisingly, the metro area  usually thought of as the worst for commuters, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, lands in the middle of the pack, at No. 8. That's ahead of Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama, but behind Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas.

Here’s a look at Tampa Bay’s commuter stats:

  • Average one-way commute time: 26.7 minutes
  • Share of workers who commute using private transportation: 75.1%
  • Diversity of times people leave for work: Average
  • Share of occupied households with access to a vehicle: 94.0%
  • Population density (people per square mile): 1,279.7

“One of the few, albeit temporary, benefits of the pandemic was the dramatic reduction in vehicle traffic,” says Mike LaFirenza, a spokesman for Hire A Helper, in a statement. “As workers returned to the office and businesses resumed normal operations, traffic congestion started to rebound — and while it’s still below pre-pandemic levels, it’s poised to increase as more and more companies require workers to return to the office.”



Brian Hartz

Brian Hartz holds a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University and has been a St. Petersburg resident since 2013. He has also worked for newspapers and magazines in Indiana, Canada and New Zealand.

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