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Could This Be Australia's Longest Commute?

A man from the NSW central coast has been crowned 'Australia's Longest Daily Commuter', spending more than three times the national average getting to work.

Jon Donavon, 34, drives 200km each day to get to and from his job and has been doing this for more than a decade. His commute takes him, on average, an hour and 45 minutes each way.

The arguably unenviable title was a result of a Facebook lead survey calling for the country's most dedicated daily commuter to come forward.

The IT specialist says he often drives but sometimes catches the train and leaves home at 5.45am, returning home almost 13 hours later.

"There's always some frustration, trains are hardly ever on time. But I would never give up where I live for where I work," he told 10 daily.

Jon and his daughter. IMAGE: Supplied

While he loves his life in the quiet coastal community of Umina, he says it does come at a cost.

It's definitely impacted my life. I don't get home until at least 6.30pm and for my wife and child it means she has been doing dinner and everything on her own and I just really have time to eat, shower and go to bed an hour later.

The survey is a thinly-veiled guise to promote a new business that offers rooms for rent in Sydney, capitalising on those who travel long distances to get to work.

Our site gives commuters from hubs like the Central Coast an opportunity to rent a spare room in Sydney during the week and return home on weekends,"  WeekDay Space Co-Founder Rani Cohen said.

Sydney traffic jam. IMAGE: Getty Images

"Weekday lodging has been popular in cities like London for over a decade and we believe it has similar potential for Sydney commuters.”

But it comes at a time when relentless peak-hour pressure in our capital gets into full swing.

The Daily Grind, HOW BAD IS IT?

The journey to work is a daily reality for many Australians and the social, economic and environmental consequences are well-documented.

The Australian Census of Population and Housing is the main source of data on how this journey plays out.

The time people spend commuting one-way in both Melbourne and Sydney has averaged at about 35 minutes for some time.

READ MORE: Sydney's International Reputation Is Being Marred By Congestion

READ MORE: 'Catch The Train. Not The Flu. Here's How'

Yet the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics estimated about two million Australians travelled for 90 minutes or more each day in 2016 -- many of them in Melbourne and Sydney.

2018 data from the ABS shows that men travel longer to get to work than women.

Cameraman Harry Clapsall is one of these people. He moved to Wollongong with his partner after both cost of living pressures and Sydney congestion began to impact their quality of life.

His partner has a local job, but Clapsall drives long distances to avoid living in an inner-Sydney share house with two other couples.

"It's just cheaper down there, the lifestyle is better I live close to the beach even food and beer is cheaper," he told 10 daily.

He clocks around 148km a day for work and says if the traffic gets worse he may look into getting a motorbike.

The ABS data also shows that as income rises, so does people’s average commuting distances.

People with a weekly income of $2,000-$2,999 travelled the longest average distance to work (20.0 km). Conversely, people with a weekly income of $1-$149 had the shortest average distance to work (9.6 km).

Is The Trade-Off Worth It?

Almost 80 percent of Australians travel to work by private vehicle, 14 percent take public transport and 5.2 percent either cycled or walked.

Transport is Australia's third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 19 percent of our total emissions in 2017. Around half of that comes from our petrol and diesel-powered cars.

IMAGE: Getty Images

A British study in 2014 found people’s happiness and sense of life satisfaction declined with each successive minute of daily commuter travel.

A 2011 Swedish study suggested that a long commute to work might further job prospects and put more money in the bank, but it could also increase the risk for divorce by 40 percent.

In both studies, flexible working conditions were recommended.

Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au