A new study done by chamberofcommerce.org, a product research website for real estate agents and entrepreneurs, showed that Santa Clarita has the sixth costliest commute in the nation, just behind New York City.
The report analyzed the median earnings for full-time workers throughout the county within the top 170 most populated cities and the average round-trip commute time for each of those cities.
The daily commute cost was estimated to be $41.32, with the annual cost being $10,743.52. The also estimated that Santa Clarita commuters paid nearly twice as much as the nationwide average of $5,745.05. The average commute time for Santa Clarita was estimated to be at 66.4 minutes.
California cities took five of the 10 spots on the top-10 list with San Francisco taking the No. 1 spot. The main reason West and East Coast cities took the top spots, the report cites, was due to workers returning to the office.
“Whether it’s companies like Amazon, Facebook, or even Zoom, businesses are tightening their return-to-office policies across the country,” read the report. “As a result, employees used to working from home are now scrambling to carve out more time in their day to commute to work.”
Jon Stein, Santa Clarita resident and co-owner of the Van Nuys-based company Cinema Secrets, attributed the news to rising fuel prices and increase in traffic as well as workers returning to in-office work. Stein said he’s trying to do everything he can to make sure his employees, and his business, don’t feel the full brunt of rising commute costs.
“I guess I definitely believe it, with the rising cost of gas and the increasing traffic. Over the past few years, we’ve kind of had to adjust the way that we have, quote unquote, returned to work post-COVID,” said Stein. “We definitely are slower to go full-time back in office for a variety of reasons, but the cost of commuting for all of our employees, whether that’s people in Santa Clarita, or people coming from other areas, is certainly a factor in our in-office hours versus our work-from-home hours.”
While the study cited larger companies that were asking employees to return to the office, it also urged small businesses to recognize that commuting could affect an employee’s well-being and productivity.
Stein agreed with this sentiment to an extent but also recognized that every business would have to take a unique approach depending on the type of work they do.
“I think every company has to kind of look at their own unique situation and what’s going to be most beneficial for their employees and for their business,” said Stein. “At the end of the day, for us, our employees are our No. 1 priority, and if they’re not able to be financially secure in themselves coming to work, then that’s going to be detrimental for the business as a whole.”
Stein said his company has slowed its return to the office and trying not to require employees to go back to it, if possible. However, there are some positions where that’s just not possible. Alternating days between working from home and working in the office has been one of solutions Cinema Secrets, and many other businesses, have adopted.
“(We) just try to look at how we can be efficient and accomplish what we need to without overburdening our employees,” said Stein.
The study’s top 10 cities listed for costliest commutes, in order from highest to lowest, are: San Francisco, Fremont, California, Washington, D.C., Jersey City, New York City, Santa Clarita, Seattle, Sunnyvale, California, Frisco, Texas, and Huntington Beach, California.