UC Commuter Challenge

The inaugural University of Canterbury Commuter Challenge, held 19th August 2003, tested how fast it takes people to commute to UC by different transport modes. Commuters raced against each other to see who reached University the fastest (including finding a legitimate park). All starting locations were set for people to arrive at approx. 9 am to the Central Library steps.

Triumph of pedal power

Cyclists won the fastest times from four out of five starting locations around the city. The only exception was from Avonhead Mall, which was won by a motorcyclist.

The cyclists generally said they enjoyed cycling because it was fast, cheap, easy, environmentally friendly, and helped keep them fit (“I like the freedom of riding a bike” – Philip, Psych. student), but cyclists commonly complained about pollution and traffic congestion from cars.

Bus users enjoyed just being able to sit back and not concentrate on the driving or traffic ("I can just tune out, no worries" – Rachel, B.SpLT student); down sides were time and reliability. Several thought buses should be given priority on the roads vs. cars to help speed up the trip times.

Carpooling was more social than driving alone and carpoolers liked getting preferential parking on campus by registering with the UC Rideshare scheme. Meanwhile, car drivers generally liked being warm and being able to listen to the radio while driving, but some disliked the cost, traffic congestion, creating pollution, and/or found it stressful wondering if they would find a park.

UC Commuter Challenge results

From Avonhead Mall
Fastest time Kirk Pritchard (BSc student) by motorbike, 6 minutes
Motorbike 6 minutes
Bicycle 7 minutes
Carpool 7 minutes
Bus 15 minutes
From Barrington Mall 

Fastest time Matt Cain (student) by bicycle, 15 minutes
Bicycle 17 minutes
Carpool 19 minutes
Bus 22 minutes

From Dux de Lux
Fastest time Steve Fortune (Engineering student) by bicycle, 10 minutes
Bicycle 13 minutes
Car 16 minutes
Rollerblade 16 minutes
Bus 19 minutes
From Nancy's Corner/Riccarton Roundabout

Fastest time Philip Daniel (M.Sc student) by bicycle, 6 minutes
Bicycle 7 minutes
Car 8 minutes
Bus 9 minutes
From Northlands Mall

Fastest time Josh Hudson (B.Sc student) by bicycle, 11 minutes
Carpool 13 minutes
Bicycle 14 minutes
Bus 18 minutes