We Found the Fastest Way to Cross a City – Car vs. Scooter vs. Transit + Scooter

Race Through City: Who Will Win?

We always say that e-scooters are the best option for commuting because, well, they are. They’re economical, they’re cheap to run, and they cut through traffic like a hot knife through butter.

So, to put this argument to bed once and for all, it’s time we put our money where our mouth is and have a race across town using various modes of transport – the loser buys the coffee.

We started the race in Dolores Park in San Francisco, more or less in the center of the city, and raced to Paul’s favorite cafe, which is way over in Northbeach, a neighborhood known for great Italian food, and terrible parking. 

Now, this race would work in any city in the world, it doesn’t matter, but this is our city and this seemed like the best way to showcase a typical electric scooter’s prowess over other forms of commuting transportation.

The Commuting Contenders

Most commuters either take public transport or drive. And in San Francisco, where the roads are notoriously choked up at peak commute times, we wanted to check which mode of transport really is the quickest.

So the contenders in this race were: a car, an electric scooter, and a combination of an electric scooter and public transportation system. 

The Racers

The racers are ESG’s very own Ramier, Paul’s friend Kamaljit, and of course Paul.

Ramier rode the new Apollo City Pro from end to end:

Meanwhile, Kamaljit, who’s a daily Transit rider in San Francisco, rode the lightweight Apollo Air 2022, on a combination of Transit and an electric scooter for the last mile:

Paul drew the short straw and had to drive:

Did we mention whoever loses the race gets to pay for the coffee?

The race is on!

All right everybody, I’m on. I’m pretty confident that I’m going to win. Paul’s in the car, Kamaljit is taking public transportation, but I’m 100% pure scooter, so I like my chances.

Ramier ESG

I’ve got a good chance of winning this while I’m in a car. What it’s going to come down to is whether I can find parking at the other end.

Paul ESG

Okay, the race is on. I just got on the train, I’m excited, I think Ramier is going to win, to be honest. He’s got the faster scooter, the most skill. This is my first time riding a scooter.

Kamaljit Guest Rider

The Race

And they were out of the starting blocks and onto the crowded streets of San Francisco.

Stop signs weren’t going to slow Ramier down – he just hopped off the scooter, casually strolled over the crosswalk, and resumed scooting again. Even people parked in the bike lanes couldn’t curtail his progress.

Paul instantly ran into a wall of traffic.

Kamaljit was very confident* that she’d have the advantage because she was going underground, with no traffic lights to stop her.

*Readers, Kamaljit instantly hit a delay on the transit at Powell Street. With one station to go until she and the scooter disembarked, the ticket conductors decided today was the day they were going to check everyone’s tickets.

Ramier just kept on scooting.

Fastest Way to Cross a City: The Winner

Unsurprisingly, Ramier won the race. With the ability to lane split, push the scooter over the crosswalk, weave around the traffic, and not have to worry about parking, he easily beat the car and the transit/e-scooter combo.

Paul came in second, narrowly beating Kamaljit, who, due to navigational errors, came in last.

I’m here. I’m first, check me out! I’m here, I’m here, I’m number one baby! Yeah I’m not surprised, I took the scooter the whole way, so I’m here first. You know what they say, if you’re not first, you’re last!

Ramier ESG

I’m almost there, in fact I’m so close I need to start looking for parking, and that’s truly going to be the worst part.

Paul ESG

Destination is on the right. Where is it? Where is it? Where is it? Oh darn it I think I passed it. (To her phone’s navigation) 601 Vallejo Street, get me directions to 601 Vallejo Street, please.

Kamaljit Guest Rider

Post-race Analysis

So there we have it, the scooter won, Paul came in second with the car, and Kamaljit with the combination of transit and scooter came in third place, but there was a train delay in the middle somewhere.

While it’s not exactly the most scientific of tests, the numbers do hold up. We think of cars as these really fast things, but study after study shows that the average speed of a car crossing town is only 12 miles per hour, because they spend so much time stuck behind other cars. So it’s no surprise that a scooter is going to win the race every time.

Ramier had way more fun crossing town just now than I did, and Kamaljit did too, even though she came in third.

Paul ESG



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