Inland Empire Commuting: Temecula to Corona Morning Peak Commute

Check out a full peak-hour transit field study from Southwest Riverside County to a job hub in Corona.

Transit Talking Points by: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director

Is living in the Inland Empire, specifically Southwest Riverside County worth the long commute? The Transit Coalition takes a look by using multiple modes of transportation.

Here's a video of a full early morning, multi-modal, 42 mile commute rush hour trip starting from Temecula Parkway in south Temecula at about 5:45am to a business park in southeast Corona, home to several manufacturing, goods movements and logistics jobs:

Here's a run-down of the commute:
  • 5:45am - Drive to the Murrieta Wal-Mart Park & Ride lot,
  • 6:06am - Ride aboard Riverside Transit Agency CommuterLink Route 206,
  • 7:10am - Connect to the Corona Cruiser Red Line which feeds from the Corona station to the job site,
  • 7:30am - Arrive

Heading to work: Business job hub in south Corona
Goal is to get to the work site before 8am. Shift ends shortly after 4pm.

  • 4:29pm - Catch the Corona Cruiser back to the transit center via a quick transfer to RTA Route 1 at 6th Street,
  • 5:02pm - CommuterLink 206 to Murrieta
  • 6:02pm - Return to Park & Ride
For later shifts, the next 5:25pm Red Line bus would connect with the 5:57pm Route 206 departure. After that, the 6:17pm Red Line departure would connect with the 6:38pm Route 206 trip. In addition, regional transportation agencies offer the guaranteed ride home program.

  • Total door-to-door trip time each way: about 1hr 45 mins including about 20-25 minutes in transfer layovers plus the 20 minutes in backtrack time between the transit center and the business hub.
  • Drive Alone Time each way between Temecula & Park 'n Ride: 12 mins am, 18-20 mins pm
  • On-board Transit Productivity Time gained each way: About 1hr 25 mins
  • Miles each way: 42mi (84mi roundtrip)
  • Total Driving Miles Roundtrip: 19mi
  • Total roundtrip transit fare: $8.50 ($7 RTA CommuterLink day pass + $1.50 Corona Cruiser Return trip to Transit Center)
  • Total roundtrip driving costs to/from Park & Ride: $8.82  (19mi x AAA $46.4 per mile for small sedan)
  • Total roundtrip trip cost (fare+driving): $17.32
  • Total roundtrip driving costs if driven alone all the way: $38.98 (84mi x AAA $46.4 per mile for small sedan)
  • Transit cost savings per roundtrip: $21.66 + RidesharePlus benefits


Concept: Fixing the broken connection in Dos Lagos.
If Route 206 and the Corona Cruiser Red Line connect in this area on weekdays, up to 30 minutes each way can be saved from this bus transit commute, leading to additional station pairs and better ridership.
Map © OpenStreetMap Contributors
Initial drawback is the excessive travel time with the layovers, especially reduced evening time with the family following the afternoon return trip. The lack of an express-to-local connection at Dos Lagos also greatly exacerbated the travel trip time, adding over 30 minutes one way. Plus the first Corona Cruiser buses pass through the business parks well after 7am, preventing those with early shifts from using public transit as an option. Also, the afternoon peak runs of the Corona Cruiser should start connecting directly to the transit center starting after 3pm instead of 5. Those broken connections need to be dealt with.

However, given the presence of the comfortable cloth seats, USB charging ports for electronics, and WiFi wireless internet access, commuters can still be highly productive once they board Route 206 for the bulk of the trip. That includes mobile telecommuting, socializing, listen to music, read the paper, read a book, snack on some wrapped breakfast during layover, or--my favorite--get a power nap in.

Also, a major draw is the big commuter cost savings of about $21.66 per roundtrip which would be greater if the commuter rode regularly and used an RTA monthly pass in lieu of cash plus the incentives offered by For many hourly workers that equates to about an extra 60-90 minutes of shift time that would have been spent on fuel and more frequent car maintenance.

I would conclude that this would be an acceptable commute even with the excessive backtracking. Southwest Riverside County residents should explore RTA's "One Big Happy Carpool" and the connecting Corona Cruiser as a productive means to get to/from the job sites in Corona.

Learn More

Check out a similar field study of a peak hour commute from Southwest Riverside County to the giant Kearney Mesa job hub region in San Diego.