Sonoma County’s super commuters earn the highest annual pay in Bay Area

Leslie Taylor left work early Tuesday afternoon — before Highway 101 became clogged by commuter traffic — and it still took an hour and a half to drive from her technology job in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood to her apartment near Coddingtown Mall in Santa Rosa.

Sometimes, the drive home can take two hours.

In the morning, she has to get up at 4 a.m. and be out the door in 30 minutes to beat the heavy traffic into San Francisco.

The reasons she endures the commuting hassle are higher pay, her career opportunity and ability to live in Sonoma County near family — particularly the money. She earns more than $100,000 a year.

“That’s one reason why I do it. If I were to work in Santa Rosa, that income is so much smaller than in the Bay Area,” said Taylor, 35, a consumer safety specialist for computer software company Adobe.

Taylor, who also works from home one day a week, is among 8,150 super commuters in Sonoma County, a segment of the workforce that’s grown more than 8 percent between 2005 and 2017, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by Apartment List, an online marketplace connecting renters with apartment listings.

In a report released earlier this month, Apartment List researchers found Sonoma County super commuters — those who drive at least 90 minutes between home and work — have the highest median yearly salaries among Bay Area cities. At $99,000 a year, the county’s super commuters make about $40,000 more than the median annual salary of $58,150 for local workers who commute less than 90 minutes to work.