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TTC Shifts Gears with Bike Rack Pilot Project


Think back to a rainy morning when you elbowed your way through a bus full of riders heading to work during rush hour. Ever notice a cyclist get on with their bike? Probably not. That's because bikes cannot board TTC buses between 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. At other times, bicycles are allowed on transit vehicles if, in the bus operator's judgment, there is enough room.

However before the end of June, this will change for the better (way).

The TTC approved a bicycle rack-on-buses pilot project for several bus routes for a one-year trial period. The front-loaded racks are equipped to carry two bikes.

If you work in or live in Toronto's west end, you're in luck. The TTC buses involved are the 7 Bathurst, 29 Dufferin, 47 Lansdowne, 98 Willowdale-Senlac, 161 Rogers Rd and 310 Bathurst.

According to Councillor Adam Giambrone, one of the advantages of these routes is that they include a route which goes as far south as the lake and one which travels from downtown to the city limit (Steeles Avenue).

In an April 2005 press release, Giambrone said, "It's a relatively cost-efficient thing to do and it gets more people riding buses. We're trying to promote alternative transportation, whether that be walking, cycling or taking public transit. It just seems to make sense to have this inter-modal connection."

I e-mailed avid cyclist and new Toronto Cycling Committee co-chair Nikki Rendle to gauge her reaction.

"The bike rack will be great on those days when it's raining on the ride to or from work. A cyclist can put their bike on the rack during rush hour and take the bus home," Rendle said.

She also anticipates taking the 29 Dufferin bus "to the CNE grounds to connect up to the waterfront trail."

However, as a daily transit rider, my biggest beef is the amount of time it takes to carve through traffic. So how long will it take a cyclist to pick up and mount their bike on a typical day? (Never mind if it's a stormy winter afternoon or a sweltering August day?)

Apparently mounting a bike on to the rack takes up very little time.

According to Rendle, it takes "roughly 10 seconds to lift your bike into the rack and pull the safety bar across - probably a few seconds more if you're using it for the first time."

In fact, Rendle said at the bike rack's launch at Nathan Phillips Square last week, "there was an 80-year-old woman cyclist successfully trying out the rack."

An 80-year-old cyclist can mount a 15-pound bike onto a mammoth bike rack? Great. I can't even make it to a spinning class once a week.

For more information visit http://www.toronto.ca/ttc/bike_racks.htm


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