Male in wheelchair with bus in background

How will you get there?

Are you in the hunt for a job but don’t know how you will get to work?

Since methods such as mass transit and carpooling exist, transportation shouldn’t be viewed as a barrier to finding a job.

Like 24 percent of workers in the United States, you might consider commuting by some other method than driving.

Here are some ways to make getting to work possible:

Plan ahead.
Don’t wait until after you get a job to figure out how you’ll get to work. The result could be a job search that is a waste of your time.

Determine the length of your commute.
How long are you willing to commute? The amount of time you are willing to travel can influence your job options. The average Massachusetts worker commutes about 30 minutes, although about one-fifth of working individuals in the state commute 45 minutes or longer.

Consider other life events.
There are other life events that may influence your transportation options such as your availability during the week or coordinating transportation with childcare. Consider these and other factors when searching for a job.

Develop a transportation budget.
Getting to work isn’t free. Typical costs for commuting to a job can range anywhere from $3 to $20 per day or more, depending on the method of transportation and length of commute. As a person with a disability, you may be entitled to reduced transportation fares. Social Security work incentives may also be used to pay for transportation.

Identify all possible transportation methods.
Make a list of all methods of transportation you might use to get to work. (See list.) For each method, list the towns, cities and neighborhoods that you can get to, the hours that you can get there, and the cost. Be sure to consider all possible options, and only cross those off your list that are impossible. Don’t assume that a transportation method isn’t an option until you’ve done your research.

Identify all possible employment locations.
Using your list of possible transportation methods, make a combined list of all the places you can commute using the transportation methods you have identified. Remember to factor the times that you can get there, and keep in mind that many people use a combination of methods to get to work (for example, public transit plus taxi). Use trip-planning tools to assist with this process.

Look for a job in the right places.
Focus your job search on places you can get to while factoring in your interests and goals.

Develop a transportation plan.
When you find a job, work out the transportation details such as how long it will take you to get to work or what time you need to leave home. You may attempt a test run before your first day, especially if you will be taking mass transit or must transfer. Whatever you do, don’t be late for your first day of work!

Research additional options.
Even after being at your job for a while, you may discover new transportation opportunities. For example, your new co-workers may ask you to join their carpool, or offer rides to transit stops. Be a good co-worker and offer to pay for gas and wear and tear on their vehicle.

Additional Tips

Get others to help you.
Ask friends and family to help you with transportation ideas. Other good sources include neighbors, counselors, and other community members.

Find options, not necessarily the perfect solution.
You don’t need to find the perfect solution for your transportation needs during your job search, as long as you have options that can get you reasonably close to potential employers. Get the job, then figure out the details.

Think now, and for the long-term.
Consider short-term and long-term commuting solutions. For example, in the short-term a family member or employment counselor may be able to give you a ride, but over the long-term, you may be able to join a carpool or possibly get your own car.

Be flexible.
The more flexible you are, the more possibilities you’ll have. If you are willing and able to walk a mile to and from a transit stop, your job opportunities could double. On the other hand, if the only option available is paratransit, this may limit the locations and hours that you can work.