Field techs are always on the go, rushing to the next customer in the shortest time possible. But for fleet managers in many major U.S. metro areas, transit times pose a major challenge.

Consider that it takes an average of 52 minutes for a service tech in Washington, D.C. to travel from one appointment to the next — the longest for any big city region in the country, according to a study by ServicePower. In all, according to the report, field technicians in the nation’s capital spend half of their day on the road.

Worst Average Transit Times

Where else are travel times painstakingly long? Try California. Big cities in “The Golden State” score three of the top five longest travel times:

  1. Washington, D.C. — 52.3 minutes
  2. San Jose, CA — 47.68
  3. Virginia Beach, VA — 45.78
  4. Los Angeles, CA — 44.3
  5. Long Beach, CA — 44.1

Anyone who’s driven the clogged highways in the Bay Area and Los Angeles can’t be too surprised by those statistics. But here’s a paradox: New York City, one of the country’s most congested regions, ranks one of the faster travel times at an average of 28.69 minutes, according to ServicePower research.

And when the survey looked at travel times in 1,100 cities of all sizes, which one has the country’s absolute worst travel time? San Luis Obispo, Calif., a city of less than 50,000 nestled in a mostly rural area. It takes almost two hours on average for service techs to travel from one job to the next.

This suggests that distances traveled are an important factor, not just daily traffic flows or unexpected delays. But as the study notes, more time on the road means less revenue, higher fuel costs and more dissatisfied customers.