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New York's full-time workers have longest commutes in country: Report

Morning commuters ride the subway Sept. 5, 2014 in Manhattan.Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

New Yorkers' longer commute times mean they end up getting paid less for the amount of hours they work, a new report said Tuesday.

The memo released by Comptroller Scott Stringer's office reported that full-time employed New Yorkers spend just about 49 hours a week combined commuting to and working at their jobs.

"New York is America's hardest working city, but it's a one-two punch for lower wage workers, who get paid less and travel longer to go to work," Stringer said in a statement.

New Yorkers spend an estimated 6 hours and 18 minutes a week commuting between work and home. Workers in every other major American city average 5 hours a week.

Few subway riders Metro spoke with were surprised at the idea. Camille Edwards, 46, works at a lower Manhattan hotel and spends about an hour and half on the train to and from her Bronx home — or 15 hours a week if she works a five-day week.

“That’s if there aren’t any delays,” she said.

The report actually found that among workers clocking in 30 or more hours every week, New Yorkers spend about 42.5 hours, compared to San Francisco's 44 hours and Washington D.C.'s 43.5 hours.

But add in commute times and New York tops the country for the amount of hours spent in the office and commute.

Derrell Holley, 27, only works part time and goes to school but noted how long anyone spends to, from and at work also depends on what they do for a living and where.

"Starting from the Fulton stop going uptown at 4:30 isn't as bad," he said. "After 5 is a different story."

And while full-time workers in the city earned about 16 percent more than employees in other large cities, longer hours hit New Yorkers working in home health care the hardest in their paychecks.

New York City home nurses tend to make earn 3 percent less than counterparts in other cities while working 8 percent more time.

Meanwhile, attorneys and judges in New York earn 22 percent more in the city than in other metropolitan areas while working 7 percent longer. Higher-paid workers can also afford homes closer to work, cutting down on their trips to and from work.

A 25-year-old accountant who declined to give his name said his 45-minute subway commute between Brooklyn and Manhattan wasn’t so bad and is just part of living in the city.

“Every New Yorker has the mentality where they always move on to the next thing, always moving,” he said.

Most full-time working New Yorkers use the subway to commute — about 1.5 million straphangers who spend an average 6 and a half hours a week in the subway system. Some 55,300 railroad commuters spent closer to 10.5 hours a week.

The overwhelming reliance on mass transit means the city needs to keep the MTA on track with both maintenance and repairs as well as expanded service, the report concluded. Stringer said employers adopting flexible working schedules could also help alleviate concerns over commutes and work hours.

"If New York is going to symbolize the American Dream, we can't be a nightmare when it comes to long hours and commuting," he said in a statement. "Our residents deserve better."


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