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Getting There: The ISEPTAPHILLY Blog

Race the Bus 2019

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A photo-finish to a great race!

On Thursday, 4/4, the Clean Air Council partnered with SEPTA for the 6th annual Race the Bus. Once again, our loyal Philly runners took to the streets to answer the age-old question: Are You Faster Than a SEPTA Bus? It was a beautiful evening for a friendly competition, and a bit of training for the upcoming Run for Clean Air

This year's race was a rematch of last year's matchup against the Route 45. Runners lined up at the corner of Broad and Oregon to take on the schedule 5:20p Route 45 Bus as it made its way north to Market & 11th. Simultaneously, a traveler on Team SEPTA headed towards the Northbound Broad Street Line, using that mode to get to the finish line.

As always, it was a close race! The first to cross the finish line was a runner (who has competed and been one of the first finishers in years past)! This runner arrived at the intersection almost simultaneously as our Team SEPTA member arrived fresh off the Broad Street Line - but this runner beat our Broad Street Line rider by a hair. And this was no easy feat -  this runner covered the 3 mile course in under 18 minutes! He also admitted, “I almost got hit by a car four times. It’s my fault. I ran into traffic.” (Please note, race rules stipulated that all runners must abide by traffic and pedestrian safety laws.) And an ever-good sport, he also said, “I guess the bus is doing fine, because the bus needs to follow traffic rules," - which is true, this bus also made all stops to drop off and pick up passengers! 

Our victor rightfully tuckered out. 

Though there were a few more of our Philly speed-demons that came in before the bus, our Route 45 also had quite a race, completing the race in 25 minutes, or for the runners out there, at a shade over 8-minute-miles. Which means the 15 runners who beat the bus (out of 75 total participants), ran sub-8 minute miles. We're impressed! 

While the bus didn't edge out our faster runners [this year], those who chose to ride rather than run enjoyed their journey, played on Twitter, read a book, and had quiet conversations while looking out the window. And they didn't have to break a sweat! And then, there's the cost. For just $2, bus riders traveled from South Philly to Center City. Our Broad Street Line rider covered that same route at the same cost in 19 minutes. And then, a ride share for that same route at that time of day was $11.12 [and rising] and would not navigate rush hour traffic any quicker. 

In addition to the money-savings of the riders of the Route 45, it's also good to remember that on average, commuters who choose public transportation over driving cut their personal transportation emissions by 70%. These commuters also reduce their carbon footprint by one pound for every mile they don’t drive. That's how all of  us, runners, the Clean Air Council, and SEPTA riders, win every time we choose public transportation over private vehicle. 

And hey, if you can name one place you go on SEPTA (instead of driving or rideshare or taxi) and the impact that has on your carbon footprint, you can enter to win our contest!

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. This event is a great reminder of all the environmentally friendly (and inexpensive) ways to get around our city. Whether you want to use the subway, the bus, or your feet, you can make a difference and choose to reduce your carbon footprint. 

Do you have a Bus Route against which you'd love to race? Leave us a comment, let us know your thoughts! 

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