Two Hour Commute?

From the NY Times:
Bigger Houses, Longer Commutes

“ON weekdays, Julie Kroloff sets the coffee maker for 5:45 a.m., then speeds through her kitchen in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., and grabs a cup to fortify herself for the long drive ahead. If Ms. Kroloff, a self-employed consultant, is on time, she backs out of the garage just before 6 and makes the trip from Dutchess County to her office in Midtown Manhattan in just under two hours. If traffic is heavy, Ms. Kroloff’s 54-mile commute can take two and a half hours or more.”

“About the same time, in Burlington, N.J., south of Trenton, Ronny Byrd, a vault custodian for the Bank of New York, boards a bus bound for Wall Street. If the New Jersey Turnpike and the Holland Tunnel are not backed up, Mr. Byrd will reach his destination in two hours.”

“In Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Atul Ramayani, a computer analyst, boards Metro-North’s increasingly crowded 7:10 express bound for Grand Central Terminal. In all, Mr. Ramayani’s commute takes close to two hours, including the 20-minute drive to the station and a 10-minute walk from Grand Central before he clocks in for the day.”

“Priced out of an increasingly expensive real estate market in close-in areas like Westchester, Bergen and Nassau Counties, some workers are pushing their commutes up to the two-hour mark, and even beyond.”

“”In essence, what this group of commuters is doing,” Mr. Pisarski explained, “is contributing to their house payment with travel time.””

“With the cost of residential real estate rising sharply in recent years, the geographical boundaries of the New York metropolitan area are being redrawn. Bulldozers are clearing farmland once considered too far away for a commute to Manhattan, real estate agencies are opening offices in outlying areas, and elected officials in once-rural communities are being pressured to contain the encroaching sprawl.”

“In New Jersey, the number of people commuting from Warren County, due west of Manhattan at the Pennsylvania border, was up 39 percent, rising from 539 in 1990 to 748 in 2000.”

“Reports of the growth in the number of people commuting from the outer reaches of New Jersey and from Philadelphia are mostly anecdotal — there seem to be few statistics to support what real estate agents and builders are calling a trend.”

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32 Responses to Two Hour Commute?

  1. Richie says:

    These commutes existed well before this whole real-estate boom. Why they bring it up now is beyond me; but I remember back in 1996 people were commuting for 2 hours or more.


  2. Michelle says:

    I have to say though that the amazingly heavy traffic on Route 15 – much of which carries PA plates – is concrete evidence that it’s significantly increased since the mid 90’s.

    In 1996 there was no way you would hear ‘Berkshire Valley Road” on the traffic report…the first time I heard that I was flabbergasted (that was maybe 5 years ago). Now it’s very common.

  3. Metroplexual says:

    “In New Jersey, the number of people commuting from Warren County, due west of Manhattan at the Pennsylvania border, was up 39 percent, rising from 539 in 1990 to 748 in 2000.”

    Fwiw, in the 2000 census journey to work, both Sussex and Warren Counties had roughly 1% of their popuation going to Manhattan, that is 140 and 100 respectively. Although, since then there have been alot more PA plates on I-78 and I-80.

  4. Metroplexual says:

    I don’t know where they got their stats.

  5. RentinginNJ says:

    “These commutes existed well before this whole real-estate boom. Why they bring it up now is beyond me”

    True. There was always a small segment of the population who voluntarily chose to trade off a 2 hour commute to live in a huge house at a cheap price. For many, especially middle class, it was always a choice between a modest home in NNJ or a McMansion in the Pocono’s. For the majority of people, a two hour commute would be too much to bear.

    Now, more and more people see going out this far as a matter of necessity. That modest home in NNJ is no longer an option. My boss, who lives in Hunterdon County, tells me he has seen a marked increase in traffic on Rt. 78 in the last 5 years.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I live in Rockaway, NJ and commute daily to Wall St via Lakeland downtown bus. This is a 1.75 hr commute door to door. More often than not, it exceeds 2 hours on the return.

    Heck, it often takes me 45 minutes to go from Wall to the Holland.

    Coming in PA commuters may see 2 hrs but going home it’ll be closer to 3.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anon at 1:10,

    If you live in Rockaway, why don’t you drive & park your car at the Denville train station and take NJ transit ? It may be a bit more expensive but will save you a lot of time & hassle.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, but I tried taking the train to Hoboken then the path, then the walk to WS for a yr.

    Door to door was still 1.5 hrs.

    The bus is quieter and faster at night when I have school (45 min from PA to Parsippany) and cheaper by $100/mo b/c I work from home on Fri.

    The only discounted train pass is through the monthly pass. However, bus discounts 10passes.

    Since I work from home on Fridays and have 5 wks vacation, the savings from taking the bus is substantial.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I commute 1 hr 40 mins door to door from North Brunswick, NJ to the Eastside. The only saving grace is the bus goes past my apt complex, and drops me off at 42nd and 3rd, and its 3 min to my office from there. So no switching trains, buses, etc. no driving.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You’re going to love this…

    Went to see MLS 2257940 and all was going pretty well until we went into one of the BRs.


  11. Anonymous says:

    -anon 3:38:

    i second that emotion

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  13. lisoosh says:

    Anon 2:04:
    I live in the North Brunswick area and a couple of years ago overheard a realtor telling a young couple looking at houses there that the commute to Manhattan was 45 minutes.
    I almost peed myself.

  14. Grim Ghost says:

    SOmeone was telling me today that NJ transit plans a new train station inb North Brunswick on the Northeast corridor line. Is this true ?

  15. UnRealtor says:

    Anon @ 3:38 PM hit the nail on the head.

    Life is a finite experience. To spend a full day (20 hours) a week sitting in traffic, instead of spending time with your kids or loved ones, is absurd.

    That’s 52 days a year, doing nothing — grains of sand in your ‘life clock’ gone forever.

    Move to another state where jobs and homes are closer, if necessary, to re-align what’s important in life.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Article ignoes the fact that there are also many more people working from home these days – thanks to advances in technology and changes in business practice.
    Don’t necessarily need to be in, or anywhere near, NYC.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I dont see why anyone should knock these people. Yeah, maybe they wanted a bigger house, but doesnt everyone want a nice house with land? You aren’t going to find that around here thats for sure.

    The real crime is New Jersey’s government. They offer no incentives for businesses to relocate to NJ. Thats why everyone has to go into Manhattan to find a decent job.

    Think of all the tax revenue lost to NY because of the double taxation treaty….pay in NY, dont have to pay NJ.

    You would figure that some dingbat in governor’s office would start luring business to NJ.

    Then again we elected a NY commuter and the Treasurer is also a NY commuter. These guys can already afford to buy homes in Hoboken.

  18. lisoosh says:

    grim ghost:

    They are talking about turning the old J&J place on route 1 into a transit village with housing and a train station.
    The problem isn’t really train stations per se – there already is New Brunswick, and Jersey Ave. in North Brunswick is only 3 minutes away, the problem is parking.

  19. Metroplexual says:

    A jitney will take care of the parking issue. They already have that in Maplewood.

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  21. I hear you can get cheap houses in Ohio. Only hours from NYC!

  22. njAndrew says:

    My brother-in-law is moving into to Dutchess county (East Fishkill) and will be commuting ~2 hrs into NYC, I think that he is crazy. He also bought the place preconstruction last year and I’m sure that the prices have dropped.
    When he was buying I told him that he could get a place in NJ this cheaper (paid $650k) and coloser to NYC but he didn’t want a ‘used’ house, had to go for a new McMansion.

  23. Anonymous says:

    The ONLY reason I commute 1 hr 40 mins to NYC is my higher salary helps me save more money dow a down payment when I move out of this area in 1-2 years. The sacrifice now will be worth it when I can easily put down 20% or more on a house elsewhere.

    I can’t imagine how people do such long commutes on a daily basis for years….

  24. Anonymous says:

    I live in Northern Ocean County, and my neighbors commute to NYC. The gas crunch will really hurt them in the long run.

  25. Anonymous says:

    My brother-in-law lives in Warwick, NY and commutes to Wall St every day, leaving his house at 5:30 am and getting back at 7:30 pm while only putting in a normal-length workday. I think he’s crazy.
    I live in Parsippany and have been unemployed or working a temp job for almost 2 years now, but I still refuse to even consider NYC jobs, which I know to be more plentiful in my profession there. I want to work to live, not live to work.

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