Tens of Millions of Commuters in China Suffer Hour-Long Commutes
Every weekday from his home in the northern suburbs to his job in the southeast of Shanghai and back, Zhihang Wu spends three to four hours trekking through the most concentrated metropolitan area in China.
“Four years,” Wu said. “It’s extremely miserable.”
In China, however, Wu is far from alone in this commuting ordeal.
The China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, a research institution, recently looked at 36 Chinese metropolises, and found more than 10 million people suffering from a one-way commute time of more than 60 minutes, accounting for 13% of all commuters.
Long commutes encroach on time that could be used in more productive ways. It is physically tiring, and can be mentally consuming as well.
After a long day at work, Wu from Shanghai drives another dreadful hour or two and gets home around 8 or 9 p.m., the same time his 5-year-old son Manman is already getting ready for bed. And if he works overtime that day, it would be around midnight when he gets home. There’s little time left for his family.
“I barely have time to play or study with my son,” he said.
Shu Yang in Beijing spends about an hour and half per day on her daily commute, which is the maximum acceptable length for her. She used to spend more than an hour and half per commute at her last job, and it was painful. So she made sure to preclude that when she had to move.
Her ideal commute time is 10 to 20 minutes, with direct transportation options.
“I wouldn’t want to be too close to work either,” she said. “That’ll take away boundaries between work and my personal life.”