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Updated below with Expedia statement.

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told reporters today that, according to the company’s calculations, the average commute time for Expedia employees will increase by 5 to 6 minutes after the company moves from Bellevue to Seattle in 2018.

Expedia's future home on the Seattle waterfront.
Expedia’s future home on the Seattle waterfront.

That calculation takes into account the reduced commute times for employees whose commutes will decrease as a result of the move.

But with 75 percent of the company’s 3,000 employees in the region living on the Eastside, the statement is being met with plenty of skepticism.

And for good reason, according to traffic technology company INRIX, which ran the numbers and shared its findings with GeekWire today. Here’s a summary of the findings, as reported by the Kirkland-based company:

  • A.M. Commute:  Travel times for Expedia employees on the Eastside traveling to Seattle instead of Bellevue will at least double in a.m. rush hour.  In some cases (Redmond, Sammamish), employees will be spending the equivalent of 3 weeks’ vacation time just commuting to work in the morning each year.
  • P.M. Commute:  Travel times for Expedia employees heading back to the East side from Interbay will face significantly longer travel times than commuting home from Bellevue.  In most cases, they’ll be spending the equivalent of 2-3 weeks’ vacation time each year just commuting home.

“Please keep in mind that these numbers are extremely conservative as they are averages based on analysis of data across an entire year,” INRIX wrote. “We’ve been seeing travel times on Mercer from Seattle Center to I-5 alone at 50 minutes a lot of nights this year.  Net: the evening commute times are more likely an estimate of what travel times would be like on a good day.   Depending on day of week, time of year (summer vs. during school year), weather or other events (like last Tuesday), these times may vary.”

Morning Commute Analysis for Expedia Employees

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Evening Commute Analysis for Expedia Employees

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Says INRIX spokesman Jim Bak, “Based on our analysis, our advice to Expedia employees living on the Eastside, ‘Get ready to sell your house, buy an ORCA card and move to Seattle.’ ”

We’ve contacted Expedia for comment and any clarification of Khosrowshahi’s comment.

Update: Expedia is standing by the statement. The company says in an email, “We have an extensive commute modeling system that we used to evaluate a number of potential headquarters location options.”

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