Modern technology is a beautiful thing. Right now, you can listen to a customized playlist on your iPod while watching the World Cup on your iPad while Skyping with your friend in China while Facetiming on your iPhone with your grandmother across the country.
One may think urban transportation would see similar evidence of high-tech progress. According to a New York business group devoted to improving New York City area airports, this is not the case. Global Gateway Alliance found riding a bike may be among the quicker forms of city travel.
On June 30, Global Gateway Alliance Executive Director Stephen Sigmund hopped on a CitiBike, New York City's bike rental provider (Chicagoans, they are almost identical to Divvy bikes), and made a beeline for LaGuardia Airport. LaGuardia, located just nine miles by car from Midtown Manhattan in Queens, is the closest airport to the Manhattan borough. Meanwhile, six interns tested different routes.
Of the seven tracks, Sigmund's cycling journey (keep in mind CitiBikes are not as speedy as most purchasable bikes) lasted 49 minutes, the fourth-fastest route. He was beaten by a yellow cab (25 minutes), a shuttle bus from Grand Central Terminal (44 minutes) and an UberX (a narrow 48 minutes).
The three interns behind Sigmund took a straight subway (56 minutes), the Long Island Railroad to the Q70 bus (56 minutes) and a subway-to-bus route (61 minutes).
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the study was price. Sigmund's CitiBike trip, which lasted between the 45 and 75-minute rental window, cost him $2.50. That tied for the cheapest total with the straight 7 subway line intern.
Bad news for Uber riders: the UberX trip was the most expensive at $44. For reference, the standard New York City cab cost $33.
Sigmund admitted he put in some extra elbow grease, considered red lights "optional" and there is no CitiBike drop off to finish his rental at LaGuardia. For travelers, luggage must also be considered, which means a CitiBike may only be a legitimate option for day-trip travelers.
With that said, the study puts two aspects of urban airport travel in perspective. First, traditional biking may be faster than multiple forms of public transportation, not to mention a cheaper option. Second, forms of urban travel need to be improved to get people to the airport faster.
Oh, and by the way, none of this factors in delays, security checkpoints and checking baggage.