In a big city a good percentage of people spend a significant amount of time traveling to and from work. It’s not uncommon for someone to spend 1 hour each way whether it be in their car or on public transit. I’ve always loathed long commutes to or from work especially during peak hours and have pretty much lived my life avoiding it at all costs even if it meant not working at all.
One of the major factors in which real estate prices seem to be calculated by is the distance from the trendier part of the city which also happens to be the part where most of the jobs are or are near by. Most people want to raise their own family which usually means they want a house, maybe a townhouse but not really an apartment. If you want to buy a house in Vancouver, you are looking at $600,000 ($544,168.20 USD) for a small, 60 year old house that is a 15 minute drive from the city’s core. This is the area I live and work in. Most houses around here though are around $900,000. I rent a cubbyhole in one of these houses. Apparently Vancouver is the 2nd least affordable for housing in the world when you factor in the median income of a person living here.
You have to go about 2 suburbs away from the city’s core to see any semi-attractive discount which would put you at about a 45 minute drive during peak hours. The housing there is still not cheap enough for many people so they have to go 1 or 2 more suburbs away which will make them cross a bridge to get to the city.
Most of the people at work have to spend close to an hour to get to work and some of them a little bit more. My guess is that they leave their home around 7 am and get home around 6:30 pm, take a shower, spend the rest of the time which is probably like 2 hours with the kids and miscellaneous stuff and then off to bed. It doesn’t seem to be a very attractive life to sign up for but I can still see the rationalization.
Gas for your car isn’t cheap here either. A litre of regular gas here is $1.50 ($1.36 cents USD). A gallon is 3.78 litres which would make the cost of a gallon $5.67 ($5.14 USD). People probably spend about $400 on gas a month no problem.
A day’s work and the commute is a drag and leaves them with very little time and energy at the end of the day but getting that little time with their kids and wife (assuming they like them) makes it seem worth it. Even though 90% of the day consists of misery or something close to it, that 1% to 10% of joy or something close to it is enough to keep the whole thing going.
Perhaps that’s just the positive way of looking at it. Maybe they are able to justify the whole thing because they find satisfaction from everyone else around them who are on the same exact boat. That’s possibly it cause if I knew that everyone else went home after work and did not much at home by themselves then I would probably feel much better about my life. It’s no doubt though that I would feel better about my life if I had a little more than an ounce of joy during the end of my days or at least be able to trick myself that I do or have some kind of purpose, to convince myself that it is all worth it. This is probably why I disapprove of the standard working life because I have less reason to justify it. Plus it just sucks.