The average Toronto commuter spends 34 minutes getting to work. That’s edged up by over one minute since the last census and is well over the national average of 26.2 minutes.
People in Vancouver and Montreal both took about 30 minutes to get to work, on average.
That’s just the median commute time though. Many people take longer than average. In Toronto, 16 per cent of commuters spent over an hour to get to and from work. In the greater Vancouver area, 11 per cent of commuters spent over an hour getting to and from work.
And the slowest mode of transportation? Public transit. On average, people taking public transit spend about 45 minutes getting to work, nationally. People who drive take on average only 24 minutes. Public transit commutes have gotten two minutes longer too – accounting for most of the rise in commute times between 2011 and 2016.
Statistics Canada counts the commute times from when someone leaves their house to when they arrive at work. So, time spent walking to a bus stop and waiting for the bus would be counted in the overall commute time.
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Even though it takes longer, more people are taking public transit. Although the car is by far the country’s most popular way to get to work – four out of five Canadians drive – the proportion of people taking public transit has edged up in every census. It’s currently at 12.4 per cent.
More people take public transit in the biggest cities, where there is more transit infrastructure. Nearly a quarter of people in Toronto take transit, and roughly one in five people in Vancouver and Ottawa do too.
Cycling is the fastest-growing mode of transportation. The number of people cycling to work has increased by 88 per cent over the last 20 years. Still, only a tiny fraction of Canadians bike: just 1.6 per cent.
Infrastructure makes a big difference in the kind of transportation people take to work. Statistics Canada thinks that one of the big reasons the share of people taking transit in Vancouver grew faster than anywhere else in Canada is because the region added 53 kilometres to their Skytrain.
Similarly, they partly attribute the growing popularity of cycling to the increased availability of bike lanes and dedicated cycling paths.