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Chesterfield man describes his 7-hour work commute

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Thurmond Alford’s uses his own car, a ride sharing program and the D.C. Metro to complete his daily 3 1/2-hour commute to Washington. (PHOTO: WTOP)

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – Next time you’re stuck in rush hour traffic and your blood pressure starts to rise, take a breath and think of Thurmond Alford.

Alford lives in Chesterfield County, but works at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. That calls for a 3½-hour commute of more than 120 miles. And that’s just one way.

Alford said he’s put 27,000 miles on his 2014 Mazda 6 in just seven months, and he only drives part of the way before hitching a carpool ride and taking the D.C. Metro.

“If I make all the right connections at all the right times, it’s 3½ hours,” Alford said. “I literally go through 11 counties, cross four rivers and three major cities.”

Alford’s commute is so hellish he was chosen last month by Washington radio station WTOP 103.5 FM as the winner of its “Commuter Idle,” a contest for “listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington,” the station said.

As a prize, Alford got a limo ride to and from work one day and $1,000 for gas.

Alford, 44, is surprisingly upbeat for someone who has been on the road seven hours a day for 12 years.

“Everybody has a monkey on their back– an issue they have to deal with,” he said. “My issue is my commute, and I accept it.”

Click here to read an hour-by-hour breakdown of Alford’s commute on RichmondBizSense.com.


  • Trisha

    Sounds like a lifestyle choice it would make sense to just move closer….just saying. Hope he doesn’t have a family.

  • Liz

    I love all of the advice-givers here. He is not complaining – not one bit. So why are you giving advice on what he should do?

  • Sandy

    The Biz Sense article (link above) says he has children and his wife is a professor at VCU. He loves Richmond but he also loves his job. Doesn’t make sense to us — frankly I hate commuting more than 15 minutes to work. But if that’s what he wants to do, no complaints from his family — and sounds like he’s not complaining either — then I say let him do his thing.

  • Tommy Owens

    I live in Richmond and commute a lot to Baltimore for work and back. Most of the time in the same day. You get used to it after a while. If you love your Job, where you live, and your family is set, the little ‘hassle’ is worth it.

  • Gretchen Mandley

    I commuted to Arlington, Virginia for three years until my job ended. The longest I spent on 95 one way was four hours when the interstate was shut down for a traffic accident. Sometimes you have to go where the job is. There are no good jobs in the Richmond area.

  • Zee

    An eldredge tie knot!? That is not considered a professional knot!

    I could never do what he is doing. Doesn’t make sense to do that. He leaves around 3am and comes home at 8pm. By the time he eats dinner, changes and such, leaves him only max 5 hours to sleep. I wouldn’t do that do my body. Almost $1,000 a month on gas, add in vehicle maintenance and depreciation, he is probably looking at at least $1,300 a month, and that doesn’t include the 7 hours a day he is spending on it. He should just get an apartment for the weekdays and come home on the weekends or find a job in Richmond, or move to Fredericksburg. Time is precious, you never get it back, I could not waste it like that commuting, much rather take a job with a much lower salary and get a part time job if needed and spend the extra time with family. He has been doing this for 13 years, unbelieveable!

  • Becky

    This must be the kickoff for the Government/Media, Inc. blitzkrieg campaign for high speed rail.
    Yep, it is. Went back to check media reports. The new era Feds that govern through their
    Media, with Media Matters (Soros) “Talking Points” furnished throughout their affiliate networks..

  • Dan

    The fact that this guy would subject himself and his family to all of this for his job speaks volumes about the quality of life in D.C. and NOVA, it’s lousy! People would rather commute extreme distances instead of living in crummy conditions.

  • John C.

    No sympathy for him. He chose to do that. Whatever he thinks that’s doing for him, I hope he enjoys it. In this area it’s not necessary to go through all that to live decently. I live well and only have a 20 minute commute to work.

  • J

    He could move closer. The nature of his work may make it safer for him to live where he does. It is also less expensive. The DOJ also pays for travel expenses to a certain extent. His skills are obviously needed by the Feds. Dedicated individual. I work with a guy who is less than five minutes from the job and he is late probably 50-60% of the time.

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