clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Would a Bike, a Car, or a Bus Get From Downtown LA to Santa Monica First?

Bikes, cars, and buses share space on LA's roads (and sometimes compete for it), but in a recent competition pitting the three against each other in a race from Downtown LA to the finish line in Santa Monica, they definitely didn't get to their destination at the same time. The race was an experiment for KPCC done by three game reporters (two from the station and one from the OC Register). All three left in their chosen mode of transport from Union Station at the same time—8:30 a.m. on a weekday— determined not to stop until they reached the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier.

The cyclist was clad in the stretchiest Spandex and mounted atop a racing bike; the car was technically a three-wheeled motorcycle; the bus rider was aboard a Big Blue Bus R10 (a rapid route that also takes the freeway). The race was close, but the first place winner was the bike, by about five minutes; their total trip to Santa Monica took 65 minutes. The car, which eschewed Waze directions and got on the freeway, arrived in 70 minutes and took second place. Delays the driver noted: obviously traffic, but also times spent finding parking. About 24 minutes after that, the bus rider arrived.

Obviously there are tradeoffs to taking each kind of transportation. The cyclist confessed that he pushed himself really hard to be fast—much more than he would have on a regular commute. The driver had to sit in slow traffic, which is not many people's favorite place to be, but got there more than 20 minutes before the bus rider, who got to zone out and check email for the duration of his ride. But the bike's shocking win caused KPCC to conclude "driving can actually slow you down." "If it weren't for traffic, I think Sue would have won," the cyclist said. Unfortunately, there usually is traffic.

· The Great Race: Is the car still king in LA? [KPCC]
· The Great Race: The cyclist beat both car and bus - here's why [KPCC]
· The Worst Day and Time to Drive on Every Los Angeles Freeway [Curbed LA]