MKSK Transportation Mode Lunch Race

MKSK Transportation Mode Lunch Race

Andrew Overbeck

Columbus, especially downtown, is spoiled for choice when it comes to transportation options lately. While we’d still love to have a rail option, there’s no shortage of ways to get around. So we decided to run a little experiment (admittedly far from scientific) during our lunch break:

Which mode of transportation would be faster to get us from our office in the Brewery District to the North Market around noon on a busy Friday?

Between personal car, personal bike, Uber, Lime scooter, CBUS (downtown circulator bus), or CoGo (docked bikeshare), which mode would win the approximately 1.5 mile race?

Everyone had rideshare and bike and scooter share apps and payment methods prior to the beginning of the contest, so they could find a ride and get going without delay. The only thing we did was employ an element of surprise by not announcing the start time - that way no one could gain an advantage by pointing their car in the right direction, unlocking their bike, pre-ordering an Uber, strategically placing a scooter, walking ahead to the CoGo station, or checking the Transit app for the CBUS departure time. We figured this was the only way to level the playing field. After the sudden announcement to begin, we were off to the rendezvous point in front of the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams counter at the North Market.

So which mode came out ahead?

The biggest takeaway is not too surprising—point-to-point wins the day. Personal bike, Uber, and dockless Lime scooter took the top three spots, respectively (with the scooter barely losing to the Uber—signing out time was the differentiator).

Both car drivers placed 4th, running neck and neck with those on bike and scooter, only to be undone by the time it takes to park.

Our CoGo participant was in a dead heat with scooter, but was ultimately foiled by the full CoGo station at the Market (more on this later), otherwise he would have beaten the cars as well.

Last place fell to the CBUS, due to wait time and the longer route (the original route that went north on Front Street instead of High Street would have helped speed things up).

But is it all about speed? Of course not. Not to take anything away from Arin who crushed the 1.5 miles in 8 minutes on her old school Univega bicycle, but she definitely arrived the sweatiest and may have taken the “race” concept of this experiment a bit too seriously.

I took the Uber, which covered the distance in 6 minutes, after waiting for 4 minutes for the pick-up. For the record, I didn’t tell the driver it was a race until the very end when I finally passed Juliana (Lime scooter) and Chris (CoGo) just north of Nationwide Boulevard. And my ride was the least equitable and most expensive choice.

The Lime scooter, as John Robinson (aka Johnny Velo) noted on our Facebook page, was probably the most dangerous. But helmet-less Juliana emerged unscathed and really came close to beating the Uber. Her ride cost $2.50.

Chris lost out mostly because of the full docking station at the Market, so perhaps it’s time to expand that one—regardless it’s great to see that one so full.

As for our drivers, they had to pay for parking and deal with the shame of being the only passengers in a car.

Poor Tyler on the CBUS had the longest ride, but it was FREE, and he was able to catch up on some important work emails on the way (right, Tyler?).

Aside from buying a bike and using it, what lessons did we learn? Real bike infrastructure on Front Street to make the biking and scootering less treacherous and more comfortable would be nice. A larger CoGo dock at the North Market would be great, too. Perhaps some of us need to learn how to park better. And, sure, the CBUS could be faster. But for all the disruption created by car/bike/scooter share, guess which mode we all took back to the office? The CBUS. The Transit app does a great job helping you plan your departure, you can’t beat free, and it’s a hell of a lot more relaxing. It’s called a lunch break for a reason, right?