Nearly 1 in 10 of us commute an hour or more day, but in places like the Bay Area, more than 2 percent qualify as “mega commuters,” according to the U. S. Census Bureau. They’re on the road at least 90 minutes a day, traveling at least 50 miles. among them are these Road Warrior readers:

Bonnie Brown, 43, single, 1.25 hours and 50+ miles (one way). I drive from Hidden Valley Lake (Middletown) to Cotati M-F and have been doing this commute since Aug 2010.  Although there are days when it is very tiresome, most of the time I enjoy the down-time to decompress from the day.  The mornings are a little tougher due to the darkness, especially in the winter months when it storms.

I originally lived and worked in Santa Rosa, but after a divorce I chose to make the move for the cost of housing.  Even with the added cost of gas, I still feel that the distance is a small price to pay.  For what I pay in rent and gas alone I would not have a house with a large yard. Instead I would maybe have a small apartment in a fairly decent complex and area of town.

As for passing the time while driving…..thank God for the radio!

Kurtis Alphonse,  47, married, for six years has commuted 65 miles each way. I worked in Santa Rosa until my company went bust. Then I got a job in San Francisco. I tried living there but missed Santa Rosa, so I moved back I love the sunshine, and my friends live here, but I also like my job. In order to pay the bills, I need to keep it.  Though I used to work 5 days a week, they allow me to work 4 10-hour days.  That makes a huge difference with my commute, and thank God for the carpool lanes.

I leave early in the morning and workout at the gym before.  I leave after the rush so going home in the carpool makes it doable. It is worth it having three days off.  It takes an hour to work and about hour and 10 to get home. I am not sure I would live here if didn’t have the 4-10s.

It is insane to do it on your own.  You need a carpooler.  I have done it with a few people in the carpool and it is horrible.  Too many personalities, too much talking, too many personalities,  and too many special favors.  I honestly think two works nicely.  Another no brainer, get a fuel economy car!  You have to take turns driving: One drives to SF in the morning and the other sleeps.  Then the other drives home and the other can take a nap….as you see, more than two too much talking and cannot rest.

Most importantly, carpools lanes are the life savers.  So many people in a car or even more idiotic in a SUV with one person…really really dumb. Respect the other drivers by not going slow in the passing lane.  It doesn’t matter if you are going the speed limit, just don’t be an idiot and let the person pass.  It is not up to you to try to regulate traffic, we are all doing this together so try to make it as pleasant as you can for everyone.

Oh yeah, leave on time…trying to race and get there a few minutes early is not worth getting in an accident and sitting there for a few hours filling out paperwork, paying higher insurance, and spending the next several weeks getting your car fixed.  A little common sense goes a hell a long way.

What do I do to pass time? Nap, have a nice cup of coffee/tea for the road, and have 4G cell phone.  I love getting caught up on my emails and hanging with friends is a great game to play with other friends.  With some games on your phones, responding to emails, reading news/weather on web with 4g makes it go really fast.  When you get home, you are decompressed and already have news and emails answered.

Other Road Warrior readers who consider themselves mega commuters:

Cookie. Santa Rosa to Ukiah, 1 hour 20 mins. About 70 miles. On the road by 4:45 a.m.

Alex. Oh yes..years ago company went bankrupt. I had no choice but to get a job in SF and commute 4 days a week with spouse. Unfortunately, still no good paying jobs in Sonoma County and with the housing market in the tank, looks like I will be doing this commute for many years.

Tamara Yup. Leave the house at 5:10 a.m. to catch a 5:30 bus, get to SF at 6:45 to avoid the later, longer commute. Leave the office at 4:00 p.m. to catch a 4:19 bus, get to Santa Rosa at 6:00, on a “good” day. Traveling time totals 3 hours 35 minutes per day, door-to-door. Been doing it forever, no good paying jobs in Sonoma County, will have to do it until a year after I die, LOL! Definitely a mega-commuter! All of our buses are full, they need to interview more folks from Sonoma County!

John MurphyTamara. Once a week I am on the same buses as you. They are all full – even the 4:35 AM bus. GGT needs to add more buses. Or some of the firms in SF should be looking at commercial space in Santa Rosa!

Michael. Petaluma to Palo Alto 3 to 5 days week. Tech guy with only good jobs from SF to SJ. Will be doing this until my kids graduate high school. Only 12 more years.

The Census Bureau reports that mega commuters were more likely to be male, older, married, make a higher salary and have a spouse who does not work, according to the report. Of the total mega commuters, 75.4 percent were male and 24.6 percent women. Mega commuters were also more likely to leave for work before 6 a.m. Want more information? Read the report here.

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  1. paul

    carpooled for three years from sr to sf and back. i did all the driving. switched to golden gate and love it. 5:30 out, 4 pm back. lived in sf for 30 years and relocated north of santa rosa. don’t regret one thing. if you drive, pay attention. if you ride, relax. can’t wait to try smart. i bet the train will take a chunk out of the commute time.

    March 29th, 2013 2:38 pm

  2. ER

    I have a co-worker, we work in Petaluma, who drives to work from the southern edge of Lake County. She used to live in Sebastopol but moved, while unemployed, to her father’s house after she got divorced to help take care of him after he had surgery. Soon after that, she got her job in Petaluma. Her car is not in good shape so she has had to spend money to keep it running when she would rather save up to move to an apartment in this area. She does not like the commute and hopes to move closer soon.

    March 29th, 2013 6:28 pm

  3. John

    I’m so glad my commute is only a mile. If I had to commute 50 miles to my job I’d be insane. I’m a route technician and drive around 1500 miles for work each week.

    My wife works in Burlingame. We live in Rohnert Park so she spends half her week staying in SF with her brother and half with me just to save time.

    The Bay Area really should think about investing the money into improving the infrastructure for transit. It’s poorly designed and if we keep waiting it’ll just get more and more expensive.

    March 30th, 2013 10:22 am

  4. George White

    This was a good piece, but, you left out bus driver, truck drivers and tow truck drivers. I drove a school bus for over 20 years. Some of the stories I could tell you would scare you to death. You would not believe the way people drive aroond a big yellow bs.

    March 30th, 2013 10:40 pm

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