Even though the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was glad to announce that 91% of its buses will now be equipped with bike racks for this Summer, anybody on the streets can tell you that even the existing racks really aren’t being used much at all as it is, and any new racks will likely be seen the same way by the Public. Unfortunately the adoption rate for this service hasn’t been as quick nor high as proponents might have hoped for in this first year, and the Media and PR efforts to promote the service have been politely neutral…at best. To make things worse, this well intentioned initiative has even been getting some rather negative publicity as we’ve recently seen, where certain members of the Press Corps would rather persecute the plan during it’s tricky adoption phase, rather than proactively promoting and encouraging the more widespread understanding and use of the racks as they become a permanent feature right across the entire system. This effectively leaves most people to find their own reasons for adopting this service.
So let’s have a go at it here…
PR Efforts: You can lead a horse to water, but a lead pencil needs to be sharpened.
I’ve already bashed the Media for it’s apparent disinterest in developing any positives stories around this subject, so I should probably also balance that view abit to be fair. Like most work in the rather staid and predictably bland branch of Marketing called Public Relations, the TTC’s PR efforts seem to have been adequately perfunctory at best which is a nice way of saying…Boring. Considering that very few journalists and TV people are going to take the time to develop a story anymore, if the Press Releases don’t provide a good angle to work with, we’re left with regurgitated blah.
The TTC’s PR people seem to have just dutifully presented the service as is, without offering any innovative new leads or angles for the Press to run with. So neither side of this publicity/promotion equation have created any remarkable value as everyone seems satisfied with the status quo for professionalism in their respective fields. As a result, Torontonians have not been encouraged to clearly consider how Cycling and Transit are becoming natural partners when longer distances need to be covered, and the viability of this Transit option remains under-developed.
Of course, any person who was still waiting for the Press or Mainstream Media to illustrate and clearly explain why Car Culture and Conspicuous Consumption might not be in their best long term interests, would likely be indifferent at best on this subject by now….if not downright disenfranchised by an increasingly homogenized environmental movement, that is more of a marginal marketing tool now than anything else.
If this rapid and wide rollout was done to simply avoid the logistics in matching ‘racked’ buses in garages to their street routes, or to at least to keep up with service levels in adjoining Transit Authorities, then so be it, but what about assuring some success to the service.
So what keeps you from using the TTC Bus Racks ?
– Not sure how they work?
– Too worried about the security of your bike on the front of a bus?
– Your bike doesn’t fit properly on the rack ?
– Not available on your preferred route…Yet?
– Can’t take your bike on a Subway during rush-hour anyhow?
– Lack of cross-town rush hour routes south of Eglington?
– Prefer to ride your bike all the way, rather than part-way?
– Only use it in an emergency?
– Riding your bike is still faster than taking transit?
– Is it available/secure parking that keeps you’re bike at home ?
Some cities in Quebec did have bike racks, but in 2008 the SAAQ ordered them removed: http://www.velo.qc.ca/…/reseau.php
Then in 2009 they became legal again: http://www.velo.qc.ca/…/index.php
This spring, I asked the STM about all this and they actually replied! They said “the pilot project was reinstated and is presently being tested on selected bus routes throughout this summer and fall. You will be pleased to learn that folding bike racks such as the ones you mentioned in your e-mail are being used in this project.” No one I know has seen one. And I can’t find any info about the results of this pilot project. Did it even happen?
don’t currently feel comfortable with longer distances or cycling on the busier streets. Logically these are the Riders that could be enticed into the Transit System to get to their destinations. Perhaps it’s the reasoning that goes into someone deciding to start commuting by bike, goes against using the TTC to begin with, in an either/or but not both logic.
One that will be especially appreciated during inclement Winter weather at the very least.
Perhaps TTC riders already feel put upon enough, that they don’t also feel like adoting urban Cycling as a
-Suburban use might be higher with more distance to bustops
Any time of day…
if rack is full: During off-peak periods – before 6:30 am; 10:00 am to 3:30 pm; after 7:00 pm, Monday to Friday inclusive driver may allow on board as space permits
not take them on trains scheduled to arrive at
Union Station between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. or
depart from Union Station between 3:30 and 6:30
peopel simply presume that bikes are prohibited on the TTC between 6:30-10am and 3:30pm-7pm – which is PRIME cyclign time as well…So the iddea of bikes adn TCC has been effectively de-programmed !
How to load:
Not beign able to count n all busses having racks, immediately negates this line of thinkign for msot cycslists, who will simply presume non-availability rather than take time to research bus routes before traveling
The main problem with the racks is that people are afraid they’ll hold up an entire busload of people if they don’t use them quickly and efficiently. A few decently-made, widely-available videos would go a long way toward addressing that situation.
Hamiolton adn Kitchener-Waterloo saw slow take-offs but are now well used
TTC expansion plan includes bike racks on the entire bus fleet by the end of 2012.
Empty racks equate to “waste” and poor planning/projections in the eyes of Public
(exacerbatign the “BikeLane” issue )
Despite showing dismal usage numbers during the pilot project in 2005, the TTC pushed forward and spent some $2-million fitting over 1600 buses with the racks – that barely anyone uses even five years later. Much like bike lanes on Dupont (and Jarvis and University and Bloor), making decisions to prop up bike use in the city are great ideas in principle, but they may not be in practice.
No crosstown routes south of Eglinton…Esp needed during peek hous when subway is off limits
very low cost compared to other TTC initiatives.
no point of taking them off when they are already on. Who knows maybe they will help spark people’s interest in cycling in the city
can be a life saver in a rain storm, or when you’re just plain too tired. They’re also easier to use than they look
TTC’s service plan routes buses to and from the subway. It’s a very effective plan, but for cyclo-commuters the subway ban on bikes during rush hour is the missing link
designate part of some subway cars bike friendly (as in if there is a bike, move to another seat (similar to an elderly priority section) – maybe 4 per car over 2 cars?
use/share the handicap elevator (isn’t there supposed to be one at each stop soon?
the money spent on painting sharrows would have been better spent on driver education on sharing lanes with cyclists
strollers and bundle-buggies
If Rush hour can’t be avoided, then how about safe Station storage ?
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