What’s the best way to get to work? We put different commutes to the test
What's the fastest way of getting to work in Auckland?
Spoiler warning: it's an e-bike.
We always thought this was the case, but we figured we should probably be sure. So we ran a test over a normal Auckland working week, comparing commute times by bus, car, a normal bike, and an e-bike at peak traffic. We measured against the most important key metrics - the time is taken, difficulty, and how sweaty it was. For consistency, we traveled to and from the same place each day; my house in Mt Roskill, and work in Parnell, measuring not just the time spent in or on a vehicle, but the total time taken from the moment I left the front door to the moment I arrived at work.
We started with the bus.
The first thing you do for the bus is wait for it. Unfortunately, I missed the first two buses by a minute; I watched as they lumbered past me while I was walking to the stop. That meant waiting ten minutes for the next one to come along.
Once I was on, I had to stand up. This is pretty common on morning commutes, as the buses tend to be quite crowded and the seats get snapped up early. A lot of Auckland buses have to air-condition, but this one didn't, and as a result, things got pretty sweaty pretty fast in the muggy Auckland bus air. I was on the bus for thirty minutes, and then I was dropped off - at the nearest bus stop to work. Work itself is another kilometer and a half's walk away from my stop. This is normally fine, except when it rains. Today, it rained. I hadn't brought an umbrella. Luckily, it didn't rain much, but it was enough to make me a bit damp when I arrived, adding to the overall effect of the sweaty ride and walk in.
Time taken: 57 minutes
Difficulty: medium. Unless your work has a bus stop outside, taking the bus you to wait, walk, and enjoy familiarity with other people's armpits.
Sweat Rating: 5/10
Next up was the car.
The results of this test were that I will never take a car in Auckland traffic if I have any other option. It is hell on wheels. The first challenge is turning right against the traffic, which I was promptly stuck in. I reminded myself that I wasn't *in* traffic, I *was* traffic, and had no-one to blame but myself. All the same, it moved at a crawl.
Once I arrived in Parnell - after nearly an hour spent stuck in traffic, and several Google-directed detours and dogs-legs to avoid the worst of it, all to travel just 8 kilometres - I had to find a park. That took another 15 minutes, and cost me over $20 for the day. Th park was about 800 metres away from work, and on the walk the remaining way there, what happened? It rained.
Time taken: 78 minutes
Difficulty: extreme. Requires patience of a saint and a high tolerance for radio announcers. I have neither.
Sweat Rating: 3/10, plus another couple of bonus points for arriving wet from the cloudburst.
Day 3 was the bike.
The bike, at least, was fun. Thanks to some new cycleways, the bike route to work is much more direct than taking a bus or a car. I biked up Dominion Road's hills, sharing the bus lane with some friendly scooter riders, and then hopped on to the Grafton Gully cycleway. From there, it was all downhill to Parnell. There was a cool breeze and a spot of rain. The rain didn't bother me, because I was soaked in sweat already. I felt like I'd taken a quick dip in the ocean on the way over. If my work didn't have showers, it wouldn't be an option. But, fortunately for everyone involved, my work does have showers. I had to wait for one to come free, use it, and then get changed into the work clothes I'd brought with me, slightly scrunched from the trip in my bag.
Time taken: just over 25 minutes, plus another 10 to shower. Total time: 36:56
Difficulty: Medium. Some hills, requires decent fitness level.
Sweat rating: 9.5/10.
Day four was the day of the e-bike.
The e-bike, simply put, had all of the advantages of my normal bike and none of the drawbacks. I cycled along the same bike lanes, by far the most direct route to work. The e-bike's electric motor picked up on my pedaling and helped out on any hills. The result was an effortless trip. I was able to keep up a steadier pace than on my standard bike and had a more relaxing and infinitely less sweaty ride. The downhills were as fun as always and the uphills seemed not to exist. The time taken was almost exactly the same, except with no need to take extra time to shower. Was there rain? Yes, a bit, but I'd sensibly worn a light rain-jacket over my work shirt, which kept the worst off. I arrived crisp and clean and ready to go.
Total time taken: 25:45
Difficulty rating: Easy. No special fitness level required. Portable speaker for podcasts optional. Sweat rating: 1/10.
Out of all the ways of getting to work in Auckland, the e-bike was the clear winner. Luckily, there's never been a better time to start e-biking. The heat's gone out of the summer, and the weather is settling as much as it ever does in Auckland. Plus the new cycleway project is coming along nicely, making biking safer than it's been before.
With Boltra, you get everything you need to start biking - lights, a seriously sturdy lock, maintenance and theft insurance included. Choose how you want to pay - a no-term-contract monthly lease, or rent-to-own. The price is right too. Boltra's monthly commuter pass costs less than a month's public transport on an AT Pass.
Take a Boltra e-bike for a test-ride anytime, or try leasing risk-free for 30 days. If you're not a fan, that's fine, and if you like it, keep going!