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The Rise of the “Super Commuter”

Whether out of choice or necessity, a new breed of worker is emerging from the beleaguered population of the North American working public: the “super commuter.”

This is the long-suffering — or at least long-travelling — employee who journeys at least 200 kilometres, once or twice a week, getting to and from work (the “super commute” is also sometimes defined as a return trip that lasts 90 minutes or more).


A new American study from an operation called the Rudin Center for Transportation reports that this quirky subset of the working population is on the serious climb.

The research, which declares super commuters as a “rapidly growing part of the workforce,” has found that these Air-Mile accumulators extraordinaires currently account for 13 percent of the workforce in big US cities. Indeed, eight out of 10 of the major metropolitan areas in the States have experienced a surge in this category of commuter over the last several years.

The City of Houston leads the pack on this qualifier. There, the super commuter contingent grew by a remarkable 98 percent between 2002 and 2009.

In Canada, that faction might include folks who live in the Okanagan and drive to Vancouver or fly up to Fort MacMurray for work, or who live in Montreal and fly to employers located in Toronto.

Super commuters might travel by air, rail, bus or even car. Often, the worker in question will stay in the city where his office is located for at least a couple of days, to make the extended journey worth it. In some cases, super commuters leave their homes on Monday morning and don’t return until Friday evening.

Families whose ranks include super commuters have had to learn to live within these conditions. An abundance of content offers advice on how to ensure their constraints don’t rip them apart — including recommendations that the absent member communicate electronically during the dinner hour, so he might virtually share the meal with his loved ones.

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