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TTC racks up the bike vote


$155,000 pilot project would transport bicycles on buses

Cycling advocate ‘pleasantly surprised’ by bike rack proposal


The TTC is considering putting bike racks on a few buses in a $155,000 pilot project to see whether the two modes of transportation can cross-promote each other.

“It’s a relatively cost-efficient thing to do and it gets more people riding buses,” said Councillor Adam Giambrone (Ward 18, Davenport), a TTC commissioner who pushed for the bike racks. “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 intermodal (connection).”

Toronto cyclists - often banned from bringing their bikes inside buses - welcomed the TTC’s initiative.

“The TTC has been one of the few major transit properties not to embrace some sort of cycling initiative,” said cycling advocate Steve Brearton. “They’re way behind on this.

“They’ve been very resistant to including cyclists. I do see this as a positive first step. I’m pleasantly surprised.”

TTC commissioners will vote at their April 6 meeting whether to start the project in June. Racks that hold two bikes each would be placed on most of the buses on six routes: 7 Bathurst, 29 Dufferin, 47 Lansdowne, 98 Willowdale-Senlac, 161 Rogers Rd. and 310 Bathurst.

Brearton applauded the choice of routes, saying they connect cyclists in the suburbs to the core. “In the outlying areas, there are a lot of roads that aren’t very friendly. Steeles, Wilson, Bathurst: the traffic moves pretty quickly and most cyclists don’t feel safe riding on those roads.”

Since Ottawa put the racks on eight of its routes in 2000, it’s averaged three cyclists for every 1,000 regular bus passengers.

“The cycling community has received it well,” said Helen Gault, manager of transit services planning and development for OC Transpo.

Bikes are securely clipped by the cyclist on the rack, which takes only a few seconds, said Gary Carr, the TTC’s chief engineer of operations and planning. “The bus driver has to be familiar enough to know what a properly secured bike looks like from his seat,” but will not attach or detach the bikes, he said.

Meanwhile, the TTC is also expected to approve the rollout of flat video screens to replace 132 dot-matrix Metron units on subway platforms system-wide.

The new screens, already in use at the Bloor-Yonge, St. George and Eglinton stations, display headlines, scores and weather, as well as TTC service updates and advertisements, in the format of cable news station CP24. There is no audio.

OneStop Communications will install the units, paying the TTC about $770,000 over seven years to place ads on the system. After seven years, the TTC will own the video screens.