Things to do

Katie vs. Charlotte’s new streetcar. Which is faster?

Charlotte’s new streetcar line opened yesterday to fanfare and pomp and all that jazz. The first public riders stepped onto the retro green and yellow car at 1 p.m.

Fast facts:

– The line goes 1.5 miles between the Charlotte Transportation Center and Presbyterian Hospital.

– A one-way trip should take about 10-12 minutes.

– It has six stops, tops out at about 16 mph, and has to share the street with cars and stop at stoplights.

That sounded slow to us, and inefficient. It got us thinking: Would it just be faster to run the route?

We decided to find out.

Katie strapped on her running shoes (I ran a half marathon three years ago and have run maybe 5 times since) and got ready to challenge the streetcar.


Katie prepared for this challenge by drinking raspberry rosé sangria and eating half of a dark chocolate bar the night before. And by stretching. Always stretch.


I rode in the streetcar to document and time the machine. I prepared by making sure my phone was charged.

The video, with results below:

The results

Streetcar: 11 minutes, 32 seconds.


Katie: 9 minutes, 31 seconds.


It’s worth noting that Katie’s running app said the route was 1.22 miles. She didn’t cheat, I promise. As shown in the video, she ran right along with the trolley.


So there you have it: Running the route is faster. But running the route is also harder and sweatier, and the ride was quite pleasant.

Corey Inscoe @CoreyInscoe