Bike Vs STIB

Written by Frédéric Solvel - 17 Sep 2007, 00:00 (Updated: 25 Aug 2015, 09:03)
Bike Vs STIB
For getting from A to B, which will be faster: the bicycle or public transport? BrusselsLife has tested it for you.

We set off from the lovely environment of Schaerbeek, in front of the Town Hall, on Place Colligon. The arrival point was the building of the Belgian representation to the European Union, in Rue de la Loi. We chose a Friday morning rushs hour, on a day with nothing in particular happening. Would you like to bet on the order of arrival?

Public transport account by Matthieu

- 08.07: Departure from Place Collignon.
- 08.10: I board Tram 92, in the direction of the Botanique Underground. I didn't have to wait for it, it was there at the stop when I arrived. What luck! However, the trip soon slowed down: afar, a red light. There is no exclusive right of way reserved for the tram. The cars wait for green light on the rails of the tram, which is therefore caught up in the congestion.
- 08.20: At last, the tram gets across this crossroads, after which it has an exclusive right of way. As if by magic, it's now going very quickly.

- 08.24: We're at the Botanique stop. I get off and head towards the Underground
- 08.26: Arrived in the Underground, I have my ticket punched and head towards the platform. No luck, I can hear the train leaving. On the platform, I can see the electronic panel announcing the next train in two minutes.
- 08.28: The train arrives. I get on, for two stops.
- 08.31: Arrival at Arts-Loi. I head for the connection to Maelbeek. I have to let a train go by as it's packed solid. It should be said that a train is out of service...
- 08.35: The next train is there. It's a question of the famous new "boa" train. Great! It's air-conditioned, there are lots of people inside, but one can breathe. Unfortunately, I can't benefit from it much, since I have to get off at the next stop.

- 08.36: Maelbeek! My final stop. I now just have to get to the right building in the canyon of Rue de la Loi. I'm getting ready to find my bicycle colleague already there. - 08.39:I can see him from afar. His bicycle is already padlocked. He's not out of breath. He must have been there for a while.

Here's the bike account by Frédéric

- 08.08: No luck, my oppo's tram of the day is already there. A quick look and I'm off. The beginning of the trip is looking perilous: a long queue of cars to be negotiated is stretching back from the tangle of tramlines to the Schaerbeek depot. Enough to get me going...
- 08.10: First red light... and a first car encroaching on the advanced zone reserved for two- wheelers. I cut myself a bit of space and respect the pedestrian crossing. A glance at the stopwatch while waiting for the red light. Where's Matthieu?

- 08.11: I benefit from the first LOW (note: Limited One Way) to get out of the traffic and go along parallel routes: veritable seven-league boots isolated from pollution.
- 08.16: I'm approaching Rue de la Loi, and two-wheelers are becoming increasingly numerous. Microclimate?

- 08.18: Rue de la Loi surrenders to me. Bicycle traffic is going on there in total safety: provided you pay a lot of attention to your neighbours on foot and to have a bell in good working order. The lack of individual infrastructures is however regrettable... I am obliged to attach my bicycle to the safety barrier... BOO HOO...
- 08.20: Fresh and available, here I am. I'm waiting for Matthieu... I will have to wait a further 19 minutes before we can meet Anne lange.


13 minutes for the bicycle ride. 32 by public transport. The difference is nevertheless considerable, for distances that, after all, aren't that great. Obviously, we hadn't chosen the most obvious public transport route, with two changes. In any event, the moral of the tale would indeed seem to be that the bicycle is the fastest of all. Public transport remains a fast means of transport. The car, forget it! In Brussels, it's really better to leave it in the garage! Matthieu Lethé & Frédéric Solvel

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