“How long is The Ride?”
“It’s a 75 minute show that can get up to 90 minutes to two hours depending on traffic”
That “depending on traffic” part of the sentence, is what makes our show different than any other in New York City. You see where other shows have a start time and an end time, we have a timeframe, everything depends on the traffic. We aim for a 75 minute show, and we often are correct, but it’s not uncommon for our show to last 90 minutes or longer when the traffic gets bad. We have always known this to be a challenge for our show, and work hard to eliminate as many variables as we can per show. The Ride uses cell phones and a central website to track our show that all the performers are attached to, that way everyone can be at their position when it’s time for their specific piece of our tour. For every tour we also have a “Ride Manager” who is in the office monitoring bus updates, and traffic conditions, and adjusting our show if it needs to be in order to make sure it finishes in time to get ready for the next show. This is a delicate job, and is one that deserves much praise; because without a great Ride Manager, our show could not go on.
If you’ve driven in New York, you’ve been in a bit of a traffic jam at some point or another. Our show is no different. As we hit these snags, we can’t try and take a different route, because that would throw everything off for our performers, and the timing of our show. It’s up to our indefatigable hosts, Scott and Jackie, and our Ride Manager to keep the show moving smoothly and seamlessly. The performers go into a holding pattern when the bus is stuck in some kind of traffic, and all they can do is wait for the bus to clear the snarl and move forward. We also have our “saver” routes. When a “saver” is announced on our tracking system, it means the bus will be taking a slightly modified route and the performers have to adjust to the new route. This all happens without the knowledge of our audience.
How often does this happen? Thankfully not a lot. We’ve planned our show to be on streets that move well and at times when our bus stops, we have it planned in areas where we don’t snarl up the traffic ourselves. That being said, transit ridership in New York City is up 9.5% over the last decade, and citywide traffic has declined 3.9% in the same amount of time. All of that coupled with the incredible advancements that the Department of Transportation has done with their “Sustainable Streets” program, and it keeps getting easier and easier for us to run and improve our show.
We have the unique challenge of running a moving theatre show with a varying length, all the while keeping our audience entertained and keeping the show together and in sync. It’s not an easy task, but we are up to the challenge!