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It’s a very slow ride …

Aug. 15, 2013

If you’re a fan of Foghat, than you no doubt get pumped up when you hear the words “slow ride” (yeah man, let’s take it easy …)

But if you’re a service technician driving hard trying to reach a customer, those are two words you truly DON’T want to encounter.

Unfortunately, according to a new study of service job travel times recently conducted by ServicePower – a routing software provider – a “slow ride” is what many service techs face in most major U.S. cities, with the worst (which doesn’t surprise ME in the least) being our nation’s capital, Washington D.C.

After analyzing the 650,000 customer appointments in thousands of cities over a 12-month period within its system, ServicePower found it takes service techs more than 52 minutes to drive from one appointment to the next in Washington, D.C., the highest of the top 50 metro areas, while Albuquerque, NM, recorded the shortest travel time at 25 minutes.

“Technicians driving an hour between appointments in Washington, D.C., spending half the day in the vehicle [is] wasted time, contributing to customer dissatisfaction, lost revenue and wasted fuel,” noted ServicePower’s CIO Simon Cooper.

It’s no picnic for residents in California, wither, as they also have to play the waiting game where the cable guy, plumber, HVAC repair man, or other service professionals are concerned. That’s because ServicePower’s survey found that three of the top five longest metro travel times for service techs are all in the Golden State – and out of 1,100 cities of all sizes with at least 100 appointments, a California town also had the absolute worst travel time in the country, as service techs in San Luis Obispo drive almost two hours (116 minutes) between jobs.

By contrast, it only takes service techs in Urbandale, IA, 13 minutes to drive between jobs – the shortest anywhere in the U.S.

Here’s a look at the five longest and five shortest travel times for service techs in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas as calculated by ServicePower:

  • Washington, D.C. (52.3 minutes)
  • San Jose (47.68)
  • Virginia Beach (45.78)
  • Los Angeles (44.3)
  • Long Beach (44.1)
  • Milwaukee (29.03)
  • New York City (28.69)
  • Las Vegas (26.92)
  • Wichita (25.82)
  • Albuquerque (24.94)

While New York City also ranks among the nation’s most congested cities that distinction doesn’t always translate into long travel times for technicians, noted ServicePower’s Cooper, pointing out that New York City landed at No. 47 on the ServicePower list of travel times for service jobs at less than 29 minutes.

He also added that the gap between Washington, D.C. and New York City demonstrates that technician travel times aren’t determined by traffic alone, as “other factors” include proximity between appointments, number of available roads, time of day, and other variables such as stop lights and tolls.

In the end it all adds up to one thing: a slow ride of this sort is just no fun at all. 

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr 1 | Senior Editor

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