San Francisco Drivers Can't Escape Legendary Traffic Even At 4 A.M.

The Bay Area seems like a special kind of hell for commuters. The city and surrounding communities are struggling to keep up with the influx of people brought by the tech industry. That means higher rent, fancier restaurants and more time spent on the roads. Much more time, in fact.

Now some commuters are trying an unimaginable tactic for skipping long delays. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission compared traffic rates in the early morning hours of 2014 to 2015 against 2016 to 2017 and found astounding increases across the board, CKBS reports.


The Bay Bridge, for instance, is seeing a whopping 36 percent more traffic at 4 a.m. this year over last year—that’s an increase of 33,000 cars crossing just that bridge at that ungodly time of night (day?). The two other bridges into the city, the San Rafael and the San Mateo, also saw significant upticks in traffic during the 4 a.m hour.

CKBS explains that the increase may be due, in part, to workers trying to avoid the $2 toll increase that hits at 5 a.m. Personally, I can’t imagine a world where I wouldn’t spend $2 to sleep another hour, but I also don’t have to put up with San Francisco’s nightmarish rush hours. Traffic in the Bay Area has jumped a staggering 70 precent in the six years, according to Sfist. The 2016 INRIX Traffic Scorecard places San Francisco as the third worst commute in the nation behind Los Angeles and New York, both of which have significantly higher populations than SF.

San Francisco commuters spend an average of 83 minutes in traffic. The Bay Area is also home to more workers who drive over 90 minutes and 50 miles one way than anywhere else in the nation.

And while we don’t all experience such exhausting daily travels, American’s commutes are generally getting longer across the board. Earlier this year, the Census’s 2015 American Community Survey showed that the average commute is now 26.4 minutes each way, or 24 seconds longer than in 2014. And a study from the UK found that commutes make people less productive and less healthy, according to Business Insider.


Yeah, no thanks. Say what you want about the Midwest; our roads may be bad, but at least they are uncrowded.

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Erin Marquis

Managing Editor of Jalopnik.