Comparison between Bicycle, Scooter, Electric kickscooter, Motorcycle, Car and Public transport
Somewhere in 2003, I was still in college and I was getting my first part-time job, so I set out to buy my own car. I raised some money and with the help of my parents I managed to buy my first car. It was a Fiat Punto and I remember I use to drive it everywhere. I even got to go to the shop across the road, also by car. Then slowly the traffic in Bucharest began to get very bad. I also remember now that in 2007 I was catching some 1-2 hour traffic jams where we only traveled 1-2 Km in one hour. I really know that I was amused that at first I saw people driving, reading a newspaper, then as the traffic got worse, I started to see people with magazines. It all culminated in the moment I saw a gentleman standing in a traffic jam and reading a 4-500 page thick book. I told myself I had to do something. It’s stupid to waste my time as a fool staying in traffic.
I started to use the bicycle more and more. Then somewhere in 2009 I got a motorcycle. I know my family and friends were telling me that it was dangerous and that it was too high of a risk, and I had in my head a kind of word that sounded like this: “If you drive, you lose your life and if you go with the motorcycle you risk losing life”. I mean that you lose a lot of your time in traffic with the car and with the motorcycle, obviously, the risk of an accident is very high.
From 2009 until now, the traffic in Bucharest has only worsened. So this year I set out to do a comparative test of all available means of transportation so that I can see which is the most efficient. I chose the way from my home to work because I find it quite eloquent. I live somewhere near the South Square and the place of work is near Cișmigiu Park at the Universul Palace. I made the comparison at the peak traffic hours in which most people go and return from work, ie somewhere around 8 in the morning the road to work and at 18, the road to home. The route is as follows: Piața Sudului, Calea Văcărești, B-dul Tineretului, B-dul Dimitrie Cantemir, Piața Unirii, Splaiul Unirii, Strada Ion Brezoianu and return. There are somewhere around 7.5 km.
By car this route is made at peak hours depending on the season, from 40 minutes upwards. In periods when there is no vacation for students and pupils or there is no vacation period, in less than 50 minutes. you don’t stand much of a chance of getting there. So I would say that the average time in which I get to work by car varies between 40 min and even 60-70 min. And that bothers me most about the car: you can’t be punctual.
I said to make an estimation of the cost of this daily ride. If you have your own car, considering an average life for the car of about 10 years and a relatively cheap car, the cost would be as follows: 14.000Euro purchase price of the car, 500 Euro per year insurance and tax, 300 Euro average price per year for periodical inspections and repairs. That means about 9 Euros per business day plus the price of gas. My drive to the office is 15 km round trip. With an average consumption of 10 liters per 100Km, it means that another 2 Euro is added. So a car operated for 10 years costs you about 11 Euro, that is 52.5 RON for a round trip to the office. It would be the cost of a taxi or an Uber trip. And here we have not considered the price of parking or various other expenses such as washing, windshield liquid, air freshener, etc.
I will not talk about buses or trolleybuses because it is clear that they are the slowest means of transport in the city. I can go by subway to the office and for this I have to walk about 20 minutes in total, from home to the subway and from the subway to the office. With the subway I take about 15 min. So in total the road is done in about 35-40 min depending on the waiting time in the station.
The cost of transportation is 4 lei per day, considering the tiket of 10 trips or 3.5 lei with one monthly subscription and you even lower even if you make your subscription and go more than to the office and back.
The bicycle is the cheapest means of urban transport. Basically, if we consider a bicycle of about 500 Euro, we consider that we keep it for 10 years and that we spend about 50 Euro per year on maintenance, we have on the same calculation principle as the car a price on the round trip of 2 Lei (0,4 Euro) .
The time taken by bicycle on this route is quite good, somewhere at 35 min. The advantage is that you can also ride on the sidewalk, or through parks if you want to change the scenery and not being stressed by the cars that might hit you along the way.
Electric kick scooter
With the electric kick scooter it took me about the same time as the bicycle, that is around 35 minutes. The advantage to the bike is that the effort was minimal and you will not get to work full of sweat. So you practically save time because you don’t have to take a shower before work like in the case of a bicycle. The disadvantage is that you have to calculate how much life you have left in the battery and you need a smooth running surface otherwise the trip can become unpleasant.
The price of an electric kick scooter, is at 500-600 Euro, so something more than a bicycle, but I estimate that the battery will not last more than 5 years. So we reach 2.5 Le (0,6 Euro) on a round trip.
I admit that the motorcycle is my favorite vehicle. This is because it is one of the fastest means of travel through the infernal traffic in Bucharest, but also because of the unique experiences you can have on longer trips outside the city.
From the point of view of the costs of acquisition and maintenance, the scooters are somewhere at 60% of the costs that you would have with a car. You can get an ok motorcycle with 6-7000 Euro, the insurance is about 80% compared to the car considered above, the fuel consumption can reach half so overall we probably reach a cost per day by round trip to office and back, about 30 Lei (7 Euro).
With the motorcycle I go most often, at all times of the year and I did between 15 minutes in the lighter traffic days of August and up to 25 minutes in the heavier traffic days. So the average is somewhere at 20 minutes the trip.
The scooter can be the fastest means of travel around the city. And besides the car, it is probably the most comfortable. The riding position allows even the women dressed in skirts to use it for the journey to work. A great advantage, as with the motorcycle, is that you also don’t have to search for a parking spot because you can practically find an unused corner in a parking lot or on the sidewalk at any time and leave it there. In addition you have a storage place under the seat which is often enough for what you need to carry up to and from work.
Regarding time, I remind you, the comparison is made at peak hours when traffic values are at their maximum. I took off at about the same time as the motorcycle, which is about 20 min. Probably in the busy days the scooter wins and in the areas with lighter traffic the winner will be the motorcycle.
The costs are slightly lower than the motorcycle. An nice scooter you can buy at about 3-4000 Euro, insurance costs about 200 Euro per year, maintenance about 200 Euro and consumption somewhere 3.5 liters per 100 km. So in total about 19 lei (4 Euros) per working day with a round trip journey to work.
The table is for guidance. The data can vary quite a lot depending on the price of the vehicles, the length of the road to work or how much you actually use that vehicle. I have taken into account, I say, an average use.
As you can see in the comparative table, the car is by far the most inefficient means of transport in the urban environment. You will lose a lot of time and money sitting in traffic, the only advantage being comfort. If you do a few simple calculations you find that compared to a scooter or a motorcycle, you spend about 10 days (230 hours) extra in traffic.
The scooter is next to the motorcycle, the fastest means of traveling through the city. in the near future it seems that it will also become one of the most attractive because there is a legislative proposal that, if passed, will allow those who have driving licence category B to drive scooters up to 125cc. The proposal has already passed the Senate. If it comes into effect, small 50cc scooters are likely to become cheaper and become very affordable.
Or if you say that you find it too dangerous on two wheels, then we can compare it with the subway. By car you spend 2300 Euros more money in a year than the subway and you lose about 10-20 minutes a day in traffic.
Ok, everyone who uses the car will say that they cannot go by public transport because it is too crowded, they have children to drive to school, that the alternatives are too uncomfortable and dangerous. If they still want to waste their money and waste time, why not use a taxi or Uber, Clever, etc., because the price is the same and you get rid of the stress of driving and finding a parking spot. In addition, if there were more who would give up the car, the traffic would be a little less crowded in the city.
Lately, it has become increasingly easy to find alternatives to your personal car. More and more rental services and apps have appeared and are appearing for cars, scooters, kick scooters, bicycles and everything you can think off. And it’s not just the classic form of renting, you can rent the car, do your job and leave it where you want, similar to kick scooters and scooters. Or you can rent directly from other owners. The idea is that if you are open to alternatives, you can find transport options that are much more efficient in terms of time and money and at the same time contribute to a more light urban traffic. If we only wait for the authorities to do something, we might get old until it happens, my opinion is that things can change starting with us, the inhabitants of the city.