Monday, July 16, 2007

Today I covered the 14 km on Yonge Street from Finch to Dundas in about 48 minutes, which is about 8 minutes faster than I've ever run over that distance. The problem, however, was that not only did this happen outside of today's competitive ten-mile race, but that I wasn't even running. In fact, I was securely inside a bus for the duration of the 48 minutes. If the bus in question, an Orion VII hybrid electric vehicle, had entered the race, it would have placed roughly fifteenth based on its pace of roughly 3:30/km.

I finally gave up on the bus at Dundas and put two blocks between me and the bus from Dundas to King. I don't think I was moving any faster than about 13 km/h, which means the bus has to have been moving at roughly 10 km/h. In its defense, on board were all the extras from Braveheart, and stopped at every red light, often twice, to let passengers on and off. I've seen parked cars move faster.

More pleasing were Adam Giambrone's remarks in today's Toronto Star:

It's fair to say no one ever got misty-eyed about a bus. But rumbling quietly along city streets, the streetcar represents, for many, a more civilized mode of in-city travel – the romance of the railway, urban-style.

"There's just something about riding the rails," says TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

But it's not all about the charm. Streetcars move more people than buses, last longer (as much as three times longer, up to 40 years), and, thanks to the system's web of overhead electric wires, run cleanly and exhaust-free. TTC statistics show that the Dufferin bus, the city's heaviest-volume bus, carries slightly more than 30,000 people per day; the King streetcar moves almost 50,000.

"The average car in Toronto carries 1.1 people," Giambrone says. "A streetcar displaces 130 cars. We're all citizens. If you assign everyone one value point, that streetcar takes priority."

I'll never boast about being able to run faster than one of our noble streetcars.

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