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Alandia Heard waits for a bus downtown on the morning of Nov. 28. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Alandia Heard waits for a bus downtown on the morning of Nov. 28. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Alandia Heard depends on buses to do her job as a personal care assistant. She spends about two hours riding each day. She typically starts from her North Side home and rides Downtown, where she transfers to whichever bus will take her to outlying areas, like Coraopolis or Carnegie, to make house calls.

“A car is a luxury that I don’t have, and I can’t afford one,” said Heard, 56.

When it’s cold or raining, Heard is especially bothered by her commute. “In the wintertime, when it’s really cold outside or if it’s raining something fierce outside and there’s no shelter, you have to stand there and freeze or get rained on,” she said.

While plenty of people fret long commutes, the path from home to work isn’t only a matter of convenience. Experts say lengthy commutes like Heard’s can take a toll on physical health and negatively impact mood and mental health.

Dr. P. V. Nickell, chair of the Psychiatry Department at Allegheny Health Network, explains that lengthy commutes cut into the scarce time people have for other tasks.

“If you spend an extra hour and a half of your day beyond your work time commuting, that comes out of family time or fun time or sleep time or exercise time, all of which are healthy and essential to a balanced and contented life,” Nickell said.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE:

https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-commuters-commutes-health/

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