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I supercommute through 4 states to get to work. I love earning a 6-figure NYC salary but living a suburban life in Delaware.

May 20, 2024, 16:41 IST
Business Insider
Kyle Rice's commute takes around four hours in total.Courtesy of Kyle Rice
  • Kyle Rice supercommutes from Delaware to New York for his job at an EMS software company.
  • The commute takes about two hours each way and costs $1,510 monthly for Amtrak and PATH trains.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Kyle Rice, a 38-year-old EMS provider based in Willmington, Delaware. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

For 15 years, I worked as a critical care paramedic. I spent between 12 and 24 hours at a time in an ambulance providing, direct patient care. I loved this job.

But I'm very much of the mindset that when a good opportunity comes your way, you should take it. I came across a job on a job board as a protocol architect for a project manager at an EMS software company. This job interested me because it involved working in the tech side of healthcare.

The only catch was that the job was based in New York City and required in-office workdays five days a week. I live in Wilmington, Delaware, with my wife and two kids — 125 miles from the office. We own our house. Even though this job seemed like a dream, I wasn't in the position to uproot my life for it.

I met most of the qualifications listed in the job description, so I applied anyway

I knew it only took around two hours by train to get to NYC from going there on vacation, so the idea that I could commute to work for this job didn't seem far-fetched.


The job description stated they were looking for someone living in New York or New Jersey, but when I calculated my commute versus someone living in Long Island, it came out to be roughly the same amount of time. When asked about my commute during the second interview, I shared my plan to take the Amtrak train, transfer to a subway, and be in the office by 9 a.m. I was offered the job and started supercommuting in February.

It takes me around 2 hours door-to-door

Rice waiting for the train.Courtesy of Kyle Rice

I leave my house at 6:15 a.m. and drive eight minutes to the train station in Wilmington to catch the 6:33 a.m. Amtrak train to Newark Penn Station. The ride is around an hour and 37 minutes.

After that, I get on the PATH train to the World Trade Center, which takes 30 minutes. I step outside the Oculus at around 8:35 a.m. and walk a block to my office. If there are no delays, I'm often one of the first to arrive in the morning.

I do the reverse commute at night and am on the couch by 7:30 p.m., which gives me plenty of time to be with my kids, eat dinner, and do some chores before starting it all again the next day.

The transportation costs me $1,510 a month

I spend $1,400 on an unlimited Amtrak pass every month, which allows me to ride the train twice daily for $35 a ride. I also have an unlimited PATH train card, which costs $110 a month.


I do have commuter benefits through my job. We can use pre-tax income to purchase the commuter cards, and there's a discount built in.

It might seem like an expensive commute, but it's worth it.

I earn more and save more by working a NYC job

I'd never consider relocating to NYC because it wouldn't be smart financially. This job pays considerably more than a similar one in Delaware. This new job allowed me to double my salary — I now make six figures.

I don't have to worry about the high cost of living in NYC. The average one-bedroom in Manhattan is $4,443, three times my mortgage of $1,400. I live in a suburban area with all the benefits of urban pay.

Plus, I love spending time in NYC and experiencing the culture, food, and diversity. I find time to enjoy the city on lunch breaks or before I head into the office.


The hardest part is giving up family time for the commute

The hardest part of this commute is the time commitment that takes me away from my family. My wife is amazing and took on the burden of being home with our two kids under four. She handles many duties that I can't do, all while working full-time in law enforcement.

When I was working as a paramedic, I'd be off for a few days after my shifts. This allowed me to help more around the house and spend time with my kids. The opportunity and the higher pay make this worth it for now.

I like to make myself comfortable and enjoy my time on the train

I pack an inflatable neck pillow, blackout glasses, and earbuds. There's WiFi on the train so I check emails, read the news, listen to podcasts, or sleep. Sometimes, I'll sit in the dining car just to talk to other people, which is fun and helps pass the time.

Sometimes, there's the added component of stress if the train is delayed or going slow because of signal issues, which can add hours to the commute. Now, I have backup plans if there are delays. I've been late for work on a few rare occasions, but my boss understood.

I only have to go in 2 days a week now

Recently, my job has shifted its requirements, and I only have to go into the office twice a week, but I usually go in more for in-person meetings.


I don't think I'll ever tire of watching the sunrise as the train pulls into Newark or seeing the Manhattan skyline off in the distance. Whenever the commute frustrates me, I remember how grateful I feel that I can pass through a handful of states on my way to work. I just stay present on the ride and just enjoy the view.

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