Bike, Train or Automobile? Three reporters race through morning commute

It’s not your imagination. Bay commutes are getting longer and longer.

Car commuters might have it the worst. In San Francisco, traffic increased by 12 percent in 2014 , according to traffic data cruncher Inrix. The company also estimates that last year San Francisco drivers wasted 78 hours in traffic. Those who travel by BART may have noticed it’s gotten harder to get a seat over the past few years. Ridership increased by more than six percent in both 2012 and 2013. There are also more cyclists , but in this case, more isn't worse—it’s actually getting easier to get around by bike. In San Francisco, the city added nearly 10 miles of bike lanes last year, and Alameda County is investing $651 million over the next 30 years in bike and pedestrian paths and safety.

Still, if you work across the Bay from where you live biking the whole way just isn’t an option.  Silicon Valley, for example, is a hub for jobs, but not so much for housing. So every day, commuters face dozens of miles of freeways, tolls AND traffic.

Three reporters from KALW decided to test all their options with a race from North Oakland to Palo Alto. Ashleyanne Krigbaum drove, Jeremy Dalmas rode BART and CalTrain, and Ben Trefny traveled by bike and ferry.

Whose commute was the fastest - and whose was the most pleasant? Let’s find out.


This story first aired on April 28, 2014.

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