British Columbia

Commuters prove who's fastest in annual transit race

Bike commuters take on transit users and drivers to see whose commute downtown in morning rush hour is fastest, most enjoyable and most affordable in Metro Vancouver's annual Rush Hour Challenge.

10 organizations including the City of New Westminster, City of Vancouver participating

Who will make it to downtown Vancouver first? A cyclist, a transit user or a driver? (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Perhaps it's always a race to get to work in the morning, but for 10 organizations in Metro Vancouver, today's commute was a literal race.

As part of the annual Rush Hour Challenge, each organization has a team with one person on bike, one person using transit, and one person driving. They started from locations across Metro Vancouver with the goal of arriving first at the intersection of Georgia Street and Granville Street in downtown Vancouver.

Traffic congestion is a major problem in the Lower Mainland. Vancouver city council recently approved a $3.3 million traffic congestion plan to improve traffic conditions, improve road safety and co-ordinate street use.

The city is prioritizing walking, cycling and transit as part of the plan.

Some of the participating organizations include the City of Vancouver, the City of New Westminster, VanCity, and TransLink.

Of the 10 teams, six of the people biking and four of the people taking transit arrived first.

One team from the City of New Westminster, Mayor Jonathan Coté on transit and Councillors Patrick Johnstone on bike and Lorrie Williams in a car, all left New Westminster City Hall this morning.

"I probably haven't driven my car in over 15 years," Coté said, who handily won the competition arriving first by SkyTrain within half an hour. Johnstone came in second around 15 minutes late, beating his colleague, Lorrie Williams in car, by close to 30 minutes.

"We're just trying to demonstrate that different modes of transportation can be a viable alternative for residents."

This event is put on by HUB, a non-profit that promotes cycling in the city. The challenge is a lead-up to Bike to Work Week, which begins on May 29 and runs till June 4.

With files from The Early Edition