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Slow return to office: The most expensive cities for commuters identified

The study found that the U.S. dominates with six cities ranking for high commuter costs.

Office life. Image (C) Tim Sandle.
Office life. Image (C) Tim Sandle.

While hybrid working has become the norm, according to new researchover half (64 percent) of CEOs anticipate that workers will return to the office full-time by 2026. The cost of doing so may surprise those workers who have stayed away, given the surge in inflation that has impacted many countries.

With this in mind, which cities worldwide are the least budget-friendly for commuters? 

This is something the firm Business Name Generator has been considering. The company has assessed 40 cities worldwide, looking at various metrics including the cost of a monthly travel pass and the cost of a coffee. The team has also provided top tips for those returning to the office full-time. This is part of a wider study to reveal the best cities in the world for office-based working.

The main outcomes are shown in the table below.

The least affordable cities for office workers worldwide

RankCityCountryCost of a coffee (US$)Commute costs (US$)
1LondonUK$4.47$227.09
2SydneyAustralia$3.34$145.04
3MelbourneAustralia$3.48$132.34
4New YorkUSA$5.61$132.25
5DublinIreland$4.20$131.86
6San JoseUSA$6.05$131.81
7SeattleUSA$6.70$121.67
8WashingtonUSA$5.72$118.13
9TorontoUSA$3.80$115.55
10San FranciscoUSA$5.63$99.36

The above cities were then ranked according to the following metrics:  

Cost of a coffee (15)

Cost of commuting (20) – per monthly travel pass cost 

Time commuting (20) – time in minutes for a one-way journey 

Number of on-site jobs (30) – per 10,000 people, population data was sourced from World Population Review 

The study found that the U.S. dominates with six cities ranking for high commuter costs. Of these, New York City has the most expensive travel passes in the U.S. averaging at $132 and Seattlehas the most expensive coffee ($6.70). 

Australian cities Sydney and Melbourne follow in second and third respectively with a monthly travel pass costing commuters $132 on average.

London is the most expensive city in the world for office workers, with a travel pass costing $227 per month. Londoners can also expect to pay $133 more per year following UK-wide price hikes in March.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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