Subway a cheap second in race against bicycle, taxi
In the interest of fairness, we had agreed not to sprint or even power-walk on our journeys. But I could not help settling into a brisk pace as I headed to the right of the Boston Public Library and descended into the Copley Square T Station on Boylston Street.
After swiping my CharlieCard by the card reader, I emerged onto the platform just as a Green Line train pulled away. As I pictured losing valuable minutes, I felt the first tremors of resentment and recrimination rising within. Why hadn’t I hurried more? But within seconds, another Lechmere-bound train appeared at the far end of the platform. I found a seat by the door.
This will be so easy, I thought. Get on, sit, get off, walk a bit. No cars, pedestrians, cyclists, or traffic lights to maneuver around. And I would never have to leave the Green Line.
To be sure, the ride was less smooth than I had anticipated. As the train lurched and paused, lurched and paused all the way down the Green Line, I averted my eyes from the six or so other passengers, most of whom returned the favor by staring at poles and light fixtures or hunching down with headphones. I strained to eavesdrop on a conversation for a few minutes before realizing it was being spoken in a language I did not recognize.
By the time we rolled into North Station at 1:13 p.m., the car was almost empty; most of the passengers had disembarked, predictably, at Park Street, the busiest of all the stations we passed through. Things had gone so perfectly, I was certain I had a fighting chance of arriving at the statue of Bobby Orr before the taxicab, which I considered my closest competitor - no offense, Hubway. The T had cut a nearly straight passage from Copley to TD Garden; I barely had to wait. The cab could have been snagged in traffic.
Jaywalking across the street toward TD Garden with a gaggle of summer campers, however, I realized I had no idea where Orr’s statue stood, being a newcomer to the city and all. Inside, perhaps? I rushed through the first floor, pausing to ask a police officer for directions. But once I reached the asphalt plaza on the other side, I saw I had been squarely beaten by my cab-riding colleague. It was 1:17 p.m.
Still, as I insisted when I reached the statue, my journey by subway had been far more cost effective than the winner’s. A regular T fare costs $2, $1.70 with a CharlieCard. The taxi? Without a tip, about $10.20.
Vivian Yee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.