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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.

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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 is the Business Observer’s features editor. He has worked for the publication since 2017. Brian 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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