Toronto commute represent weeks of dead time to hapless travellers

Toronto’s Board of Trade says that city has the worst average commute times anywhere, at 80 minutes a day. That means the average Toronto commuter spends about 18 24-hour days in a car or on the bus each year, spending money and time, but earning none.

Think of it as a forced unpaid vacation, about a month long in terms of working days, spent in a car. That’s worse than Los Angeles, which manages an average daily commute of 57 minutes.

The costs in economic and environmental terms defy calculation.

The Board of Trade report, completed by the Conference Board of Canada, triggered an outcry in Toronto about the lost economic opportunity. It also spurred Canada’s big city mayors, gathered at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to seek a gridlock-busting summit with Ottawa to discuss public transit investment.

The mayors have been asking  Ottawa to commit $2 billion a year to a national transit strategy since 2007, a relatively modest sum given the needs.

Vancouver ranks much better than Toronto, though not great, at 67 minutes a day. That puts us out of the car about 48 hours earlier. (The board averaged car and transit commute times.)

Vancouver’s commute is about the same as this 2006 report, which suggests travel times were dropping in 1992 but steady since then.

The lucky workers of Barcelona won the contest with an average commute of only 48.4 minutes.