Friday, September 15, 2006

If you don't use it, you lose it

Next week, the TTC will receive a report on the bike racks on buses pilot program at Wilson garage. All of Wilson's accessible buses were equipped with bike racks, allowing cyclist to load their bicycles on the front of the bus, take transit, then use their bikes to complete the journey. While the racks were very well received by over 75% of people surveyed, less than 1% of total passengers used them. As a result, the report argues that there is no justification for the expansion of the program.

The TTC is cash strapped, and we cannot expect them to throw money at a program that clearly is not working, but I believe that cycling is such a big issue in the city these days, this is something that City Council may want to get involved in. The promotion of cycling is, after all, consistent with the city's official plan.

I think there are two main reasons why this project failed.
  1. The project had bike racks installed on Wilson division's accessible routes, which operate mainly west of Yonge Street. Of those routes, only four serve the downtown core. They are 7 Bathurst, 29 Dufferin, 47 Lansdowne and 161 Rogers Road. I believe that these routes do not provide enough downtown coverage for the cycling-transit mix to work well enough. Simply put, these routes do not generate enough data. The TTC should rerun the pilot project, but add more downtown routes to the project. 6 Bay, 65, Parliament, 75 Sherbourne and 94 Wellesley should be included, to give more coverage to the project area.
  2. They installed bike racks on Wilson accessible buses at the worst possible time. Wilson has three types of accessible buses. Orion V, VI and VII models. At the time of the test, the Orion Vs were in the middle of their mid-life rebuild program, the Orion VI fleet was being withdrawn from service and retired, and the Orion VIIs were just arriving from the factory. As a result of all this, Wilson had to substitute fishbowls on its accessible routes for many of the runs - buses which did not have bike racks. An eager cyclist who waits at the stop and sees five fishbowls in a row is not going to say "I'll try again tomorrow." I'm certain that Wilson being unable to meet it's accessibility requirements contributed to the low ridership. Now that the fleet is stable, the project can actually produce realistic results.
With the city wanting to promote cycling, and the fact that the project was flawed from the start, I don't think we've seen the last of the bike rack issue.

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At 9/16/2006 6:35 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i read that the 29 Dufferin was the only route that was used the most in one day. Now if the TTC had bike racks on 3 of its cross town routes and 3 of its heavly used north south routes you would see alot more usege.
I.e Sheppard West,Eglinton West Finch west the York Universty rocket Yonge st
Bathurst and Dufferin

They would get Better Resalts


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