A pizza or an ambulance?

Which one gets to your house faster? You’ve all heard it’s the former – but is that really true?

First off, comparing pizza/ambulance arrival times skew the numbers. While ambulances can be called at any time of day (or, indeed, night), pizza delivery is usually around lunch time and dinner time – both of these, particularly the latter, are times in which many more people would be travelling than, say, in the middle of the afternoon. You can’t, after all, predict when you’re going to have emergencies (as a family member once emphatically told a salesperson on the phone), while you can predict when you’re going to be hungry. Pizza is delivered on a motorcycle or scooter, while a typical ambulance is larger than most cars. As such, the ambulance will naturally take longer to arrive if they’re travelling the same distance.

Of course, if I were to do this properly, I’d call, at two different times of day, both a pizza place and an ambulance, and time them both, but nobody will do that, for fear that they’re diverting emergency medical resources from where they’re needed. In the hopefully-unlikely event that anyone in the household requires an ambulance, I certainly wouldn’t be thinking about pizza delivery timings (probably something more like ‘can I drive to the hospital safely?’).

There’s also the factor of accepting deliveries. Papa John’s in India, for instance, states that it only delivers in a range that they can get to within 30 minutes. Ambulances have no such¬†rule, nor can they be allowed to. Of course, ambulance stations/medical centres are supposed to be set up within range of everyone, while pizza places can just set up where there’s a majority of the wealthy population.

But if you just take the facts, then ambulances – at least in the capital – beat pizzas. The response time is (if government statistics can ever be believed) 10 minutes, plus or minus three. The real problem, however, isn’t how fast the ambulances get to your house – it’s whether they’ll come at all. 28% of calls are refused because ambulances aren’t available. But no pizza place will ever refuse your call. If you live in the right range, that is.

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