Trudging through subways and airports can become a mind-numbing chore for the frequent business traveler. Indeed, a recent DayNovo Consulting Group study found that intra-facility transit can add up to 25% to the length of a typical business journey.
So what can the weary traveler do to reduce his or her down-time from bag-schlepping? Intriguingly, a number of niche startups are approaching this market across the world. We reveal the best of the best below:
Parisian walkway grand vitesse: The French have long had a love affair with the moving walkway. Gustave Eiffel himself proposed a high speed one in 1887 to transport World Exhibition visitors from Paris directly to the Loire Valley. (The journey time of over 28 hours was considered too grueling for even the most enthusiastic of travelers, and the idea was rejected.) More recently the idea has resurfaced in the Paris Metro. The Journal recently reported new trials of a system at Montparnasse Station. Although initial tests only resulted in a handful of serious injuries, RATP management have thus far refused to turn up the speed beyond 3mph. (See full video story from the Journal below)
Dallas airport: Faced with ever increasing transit times between terminals, airport officials have turned to an enterprising startup company for an answer. Starting in December business travelers will be able to hop aboard in-building taxi cabs to ease their connection worries. PriusCab will offer a fleet of twenty-five bright orange vehicles within terminals one through five. Flashing lights and an ear-piercing bull-horn will be used to warn pedestrians of approaching cars, while the use of hybrids will keep in-building fumes to a minimum. Fees are expected to start at $25.
Amsterdam airport: Travelers at Schippol have always faced agonizingly long walks between flights. During 2006 at least fifteen business travelers succumbed to the arduous hike. It was no surprise then that earlier this year BizBikes began offering rental bikes for business travelers in need of a leg up. Prices start at $30 per ride, though budget travelers can ride tandem for only $10 per person. For an additional $25 travelers can request a professional tandem "driver" to take the strain even further.
Calgary airport: Recent tar sands oil exploration has stressed Calgary International airport to its limits. In response AirRides now offers a wide selection of in-terminal steers that are saddled up and waiting to charge their passengers towards the appropriate gate. Prices start at $30 for a more leisurely ride up to $60 for a true bare-knuckles bronco.