The Bike/Public Transport Interface

25 11 2010

Some interesting things about the bike / public transport interface:

1. The Last Mile problem.

People will use a bus stop or train station 3.5km away from their house if they can cycle there, where as if they’re walking they’ll walk only 500 metres. So with more people using bikes less routes can be provisioned, and the frequency and quality of those services could be improved (well they could if more than 5% of people cycled to the station)

2. Bike racks on buses.

Christchurch has bike racks on some of its buses. They only take two bikes, and if they’re full you have to wait for the next bus, but they are quite cheap to install on a bus, and can cost as low as $1000 or so per rack to install. The NZTA recently published a study of the bike/PT interface in NZ cities (everything Tauranga and bigger) and came up with an interesting fact – the benefits of putting bike racks on the front of buses is about 5 times the cost of installing them. Which would suggest that all of Wellington’s 500 buses should have bike racks installed. And once Celia’s light rail to the airport gets built there can be bike trailers on the Wellington tram.

3. Better secure bike facilities.

The NZTA study only considered bike lockers for secure storage (although they’re not that secure. I’ve heard of bike lockers getting broken into at Paraparaumu Station.) Bike lockers are definitely better than these monstrosities:

But there are better alternatives to the upside-down giant shuttlecocks and the not too secure secure lockers. See what they are installing around Melbourne – Parkiteer cages. They have electronic card access. Unlike secure lockers where you are limited to renting a single locker meaning you always have to ride to the same stop, with the parkiteer scheme you can lock your bike reasonably securely at any station that has the facility. I’d much prefer parkiteer style sheds in Wellington to the current secure bike lockers.

4. Bikes on trains

One of the recommendations of the above mentioned NZTA study is:

Current public transport services in major New Zealand centres should be reviewed to determine whether vehicles and contracts can be altered to allow bicycles onboard. Providing for BoB (bikes on buses) public transport services will give a good economic return sufficient to justify the investment.

That I would say should go for trains too.  I heard rumours that the Wellington Regional Council is reviewing it’s bikes on trains initiatives and it could be taken away from us.

5. Bike share

Auckland’s has just gone bust. Advertising as the model of funding bike share doesn’t really work. Integration into the electronic ticketing system and integration into the secure bike parking electronic card system are needed to make these things work. Then again the electronic ticketing systems need to be integrated with other electronic ticketing systems. Snapper doesn’t work with the Newlands Mana cards which won’t work with Auckland’s, which won’t work with Perth’s, which won’t work with Brisbane’s, or Melbourne’s. Why can’t one smartcard work all the way from Fremantle, WA to Invercargill?

So to summarise – a bike/public transport interface would be great if there actually was an effective one.



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