And the results are in!
Last night, the Fifth Annual Race the Bus proved to be another great comradery and morale booster for likeminded people who celebrate alternative methods of transportation. Alternative to cars, that is. Of the 70+ runners who attended the race, everyone’s spirits were high as they faced off against the Route 45 Bus in rush hour traffic, the Broad Street Line northbound, and ride share.
The starting line was packed at 5:35, a few minutes before the race was scheduled to start (which was 5:43), with everyone loose and ready to compete. The bus pulled off (with a Team Bus SEPTA member on board to live Tweet!) from the curb at 5:45 and the cluster of runners took off past Oregon Station (Broad Street Line), turning right onto Oregon and then left onto 11th, to follow the path of the bus route. The Team BSL SEPTA member hurried into the subway station, down the stairs to await the northbound train.
Competitions are always fun, and encouraged, and this one is a particular favorite, as it sparks such great conversation. Which brings us to the race results…
The first runner, Max, crossed the finish line in 17 minutes and change. He later admitted to us that his time would have been faster had he not been tripped up by 11th’s routing around an Acme shopping center at 11th and Passyunk. The runners poured in behind Max, sweaty, exhilarated, and happy to cross the finish line.
The Route 45 was scheduled to reach 11th and Market at 6:04pm (allotting for 21 minutes of travel time), which, with the 2 minute adjusted start time, put it at an estimated 6:06pm. The bus was slightly delayed last night, between traffic spill-over from the earlier Villanova parade, Phillies Home Opener traffic, Flyers game day traffic, as well as regular rush hour (it was quite the perfect storm for traffic around Philadelphia!). But despite this, our Team Bus rider reminded us that in addition to carrying a bus-full of passengers to their destinations (warm and comfortably, mind you), it stopped at every red light (something our runners admitted, they did not do), waited for rule-breaking cars to clear the box, and stopped at corners to pick up other riders. Not to mention, those on the bus checked up on their social media accounts, read books, studied for a test, and daydreamed out the window while listening to music. Even with the longer ride time, it was still a preferable trip to shouting at other cars from a driver’s seat, and for anyone who needed to look presentable upon arrival at their destination, not showing up sweaty and in need of a shower was a huge added perk!
And then, there’s the cost. For $2 (with a SEPTA Key Card), the bus got these riders to their destinations without stress, without sweating it out. That can’t be rivaled. The cost of a ride share at that time and place last night was $11.51, and was estimated to reach the finish line at 6:10pm – after the majority of runners crossed, and realistically, the ride share would hit the same traffic issues as the Route 45 Bus... so we're a little skeptical of the 6:10pm estimated arrival.
The Broad Street Line, for comparison, was also $2 (with a SEPTA Key Card) and got our Team BSL rider to City Hall Station by 5:59 – but then they still had a ten minute walk to the finish line. They reached the finish line to see about half of the runners having completed the route, with around half still making their way up 11th Street.
We're lucky to live/work in a city that has so many different ways to get from Point A to Point B - and this event is a celebration of that. And even though the bus didn't win the race, we feel good knowing it safely carried 46 customers up 11th Street - something the Route 45 does 254 times a day!!
Thanks to everyone (thank you Clean Air Council!) who made this year’s Race the Bus another great competition with even better camaraderie. We'll see you next year!
Do you have a Bus Route against which you'd love to race? Leave us a comment, let us know your thoughts!