Posts Tagged: Pub



Understanding Travel Decisions—A Human Perspective

Like many people of my generation, I put myself through two university degrees working in restaurants and bars. The last spot I ever worked at was a high-end Irish Pub in Toronto’s financial district.

Thankfully, the pub was located exactly 25 minutes’ walk from my apartment. I knew, because I’d meticulously timed it, measured it and shaved off every potential minute by finding every potential short-cut I could find—demonstrating the kind of meticulous attention to detail that makes us transit geeks so popular with the ladies.

The question then before I walked out my front door was whether to walk or to take transit.

Seems like a simple question, right? It wasn’t. Let me explain:

The most direct transit route from my apartment to the pub involved (in order of sequence of events):

  • a 2 minute journey from my front door to the streetcar stop;
  • an undetermined wait time for the streetcar;
  • a 6 minute streetcar trip;
  • a 2 minute transfer time from the streetcar to the subway;
  • an undetermined wait time for the subway;
  • a 4 minute subway ride;
  • a 2 minute journey from the subway to the pub.

You see the problem right away.

While the trip itself (let’s say the fixed journey time) was 16 minutes long, the wait times for the two vehicles in between were completely undetermined. Generally speaking, those wait times ranged any where from 1 minute to 10 minutes, and predicting them were nigh impossible.

That meant that my actual travel time by transit would be any where from 18 minutes to 36 minutes. Sure there were some situations where transit was a faster option, but that only occurred in 28% of all the possible wait time combinations.

Here’s the most interesting part: If I had to wait 8 minutes or more for either the streetcar or (not both) the subway, travelling by foot always yielded a shorter travel time. I know this because I built a spreadsheet to understand it for myself.

Assuming that an 8 minute wait time for any transit vehicle in Toronto is 50/50 proposition (at best) and given the $3.00 fare, is it any surprise then that I almost always walked?

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