Have you ever wanted to take your bike on the local bus? They do it in Australia, USA and Canada, so why not here?
We set out to see what’s required to make things happen in Auckland. Here’s our report A Framework for Action, we’re now looking to get a pilot started in Auckland.
There’s also a pilot running in Christchurch which we’re told is very successful – it’s time to get started in Auckland!
Frequently asked questions:
1) Why put bike racks on buses?
Whilst most people who cycle enjoy the independence that riding a bike brings, there are many benefits to being able to put your bike on a bus when you choose/need to :
- You might take your bike on the bus to work with you in the morning so that you can ride home after a long day at the office (or vice versa)
- Perhaps you enjoy the thrill of downhill riding, want to avoid a particularly steep hill, or know that riding home from work entails having to ride an extended section of road where there is simply not enough room for cyclists
- You would have the option of avoiding getting rained on during one of Auckland ’s changeable weather days
- You can avoid having to ride home in the dark
- If you are just starting out and fitness levels are low, you can bus one way and ride the other
- Live twenty minutes walk from the nearest bus stop? Cycle to it in a quarter of the time
- Not able to change a tyre yet? Put your bike on the bus if you get a puncture
- For more reasons, click here
Furthermore, because of increased catchment and the added mobility riding a bike brings, it is likely that some people may choose to take the bus for the same reason they would otherwise take the car.
2) How much would it cost to take your bike?
In cities all over the world and in New Zealand ’s Christchurch trial (downloadable brochure here) the service comes free with the bus fare
3) Is it easy to put the bike on the rack? How long does it take? Won’t it delay the service?
The whole process is very quick as you can see here, it takes on average 20 seconds to load or unload a rack. Once a cyclist has their bike on the bus, it is not likely that they’ll be getting off again until much further down the line. Given that there are only two racks on each bus the driver will not be stopping constantly to let cyclists on and off. As a result there is no significant delay to the bus service.
4) What if the rack is full when the bus rolls up?
If the racks are full when the bus pulls up then you may need to wait until the next bus. It is the goal of Cycle Action to ensure that racks are fitted on routes that have a high frequency of buses and that the next bus will be fifteen minutes away (or less) and will hopefully have a spare rack. Worst case scenario, lock your bike to a pole and catch the bus. Or ride your bike!
5) Will my bike fit?
The racks accommodate road bikes, bikes with panniers, mountain bikes, BMX’s and more. The Sportsworks Veloporter 2 rack is used in Christchurch and can be used by bikes with wheels larger than 16” in diameter.
6) Will my bike be safe?
The racks have been designed to ensure bikes are not damaged in transit /loading/unloading. The bikes are kept firmly in place by the support arm.
7) Are there any routes you think be suitable on which to trial the service in Auckland ?
Cycle Action has identified the Stagecoach Remuera Rider as being ideal for the following reasons:
Bike racks on buses are utilised most when they allow a cyclist to overcome an obstacle of some description, a number of obstacles have been identified on the Remuera Rider route, including:
- lane widths on Custom St East
- Competing for breathable air and space whilst heading up Symonds St
- The frantic narrow dash that is Broadway Newmarket
- The narrow uphill section of Remuera Rd east of Bassett and Dilworth
- Remuera Rd south-east of Market Road with narrow lanes/parked cars
- Quite a solid distance all the way out to Glenn Innes
- Likewise heading in to town St Johns Rd has a particularly narrow uphill section prior to Waitarua, and the approach to Ladies Mile is also a squeeze
Cyclists are also most likely to use the service when they know that all buses on the route are fitted with racks. The Remuera Rider uses only seven buses in total (as opposed to other routes which feature many different buses on rotation) making it both easy and inexpensive to fit the racks. The service is particularly reliable and frequent during peak commuter times.
8) Does it stack up as a good investment for the transport agencies ?
Yes! Read the research into the financial rate on investment for Bikes on Buses here.