19 November 2008

A bike rack / free ride scam?

| johnboy
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In the recent discussion about bike racks on buses Miz outlined an interesting scam surrounding the current system of free bus rides for people using the bike racks on the front of ACTION buses.

    I’ve heard of people getting a free ride by walking their dusty, spiderwebby (ie obviously unused and probably unride-able) bike to the bus stop and using it to get a free bus ride. This from a bus driver. And why wouldn’t you?

    All in all, it seems fairly pointless to give bikers a free ride.

Flying Doormat then explained the economics of making this effort:

    Some people are just tightarses – thats why they would get their shitty bikes and walk down to save a few dollars. Oh but if such a tightarse was to take the bus to work for say 200 work days a year at $6.00 a day(return trip) that would equate to $1200 to spend on something else. This is why they should have to pay the same as anyone else who uses the bus service.

Any thoughts on how this could be policed?

UPDATED: Caf makes a compelling argument that the maximum saving should be calculated in monthly bus passes and would be $984.

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Taking out the $168 / term cost for the school bus travel isn’t going to change your economics though, is it? The school passes are already cheap, it’s the adult fare that causes your problem.

I reckon you’re at definitely at the cheaper end of car travel though, what with 6 L/100km (extraordinarily low for city driving), short distance and free parking. Parking at $5/day adds up to $300 over a term.

Caf re: #27 3 children at $56 each over four school terms per year = $672.00.

$56 per 3 children plus 3 monthly adult tickets for the parent comes to $414 over a school term if we use ACTION. In our small car at 37km round trip (working in Woden) using 6 litres/100km = about $160 per school term (even less now that fuel is cheaper). We don’t pay for parking but you’d get alot of parking for the difference of $254.00

No, you’re wrong.

The absolute most that travel on an ACTION bus can cost you is $984 a year, so that’s the upper bound on the saving you can make by travelling free. The maximum cost you could choose to pay is irrevelant – no one has to pay more than $984/year, so that is all that unlimited free travel is worth.

Very Busy said :

If Stanhope is serious about getting more cars off the road he would go back to free school services. Especially now that so many kids schools are no longer within walking/riding distance due to closures.

Actually kids who were the victim’s of closures get free term tickets.

Caf you r wrong … it IS $6 a day maximum cost when you pay cash. You chose the saving one to make your point.

pretty much no way of “policing” it, other than removing the right of free travel for cyclists or giving all users free use.

So a healthy proportion reckon a few free riders is not a prob, and good on ’em.

Bit diferent attitude to those who can’t afford/avoid purchasing a driver’s license.

Not unless you have several chill’un . . .

Mind you a school term ticket is only 56 bucks, that doesn’t sound like a particularly onerous impost to me.

IIRC free school buses were a Carnell piece of middle class welfare with private school kids on average travelling much further.

It was canned to please the comrades of the education unions when the Stanhope junta swept to power.

Yeah there wasn’t free bus travel up until at least 1998. And Stanhope was elected in 2001, if it ever happened it would have had to be sometime in that window.

I never got free bus travel as a student either.
I thought that was a NSW thing.

tylersmayhem1:49 pm 18 Nov 08

Remember the good old days before Stanhope – School bus services were free.

Hmmm, I never remember getting free bus tickets as a kid. Did things change for a period after 1994 where tickets were free for students?

I think those saying there are cheapskates gaming the system, are shortsighted. These type of policies are about changing habits – getting people in the long run to ride buses/use pushbikes. I’m happy to let some people game the system if it means a lot more are using bikes/buses. These are the sort of decisions that need to be left in place for 10 years or more (at least the lifespan of a car purchase cycle) and only then reviewed and revisited. Until then, any change on the current system is too soon.

I will however add my weight to the tweak that you have to have a helmet.

Holierthanthou1:31 pm 18 Nov 08

You must have shaved legs or no fre ride. That will dort out the serious riders.

Frankly, I believe this to be a beat up by disgruntled drivers, many of whom have expressed disapproval of the racks.

I’m pretty sure any cheats wil soon tire of lugging several kilos of scrap ron around all day

on free school bus travel for kids – I remember getting free bus travel to trvael 30km to school on the train, just because we chose to go to a school out of area. While we were happy to take the free ride, I never quite agreed with being able to get a free bus trip to travel to your school of choice. The local primary or high school, yes – you should be able to travel safely and without getting drowned on a wet day to your local school, but not to travel across town to the grammar school.

Remember the good old days before Stanhope – School bus services were free. One of Stanhopes first policy reversals was the removal of free buses for school kids. This forced our family back into the car. The cost of bus tickets for three kids and a parent made the bus trip very very uneconomic. Now if the kids were still free, the parent would be on the bus and the car would be in the garage.

If Stanhope is serious about getting more cars off the road he would go back to free school services. Especially now that so many kids schools are no longer within walking/riding distance due to closures.

Providing free bike travel to reduce the number of cars on our roads has a completely insignificant effect on its intended purpose. This policy is nothing more than a sweetheart deal between Government and its Pedal Power mates!!!!

Sorry if this post doesn’t address the original question in this thread.

to quote the internet “pics or it didn’t happen”

this seems to me to be an urban myth, it sounds like a good idea, it is plausible, and people start telling stories about it like it actually happened.

So, pics of someone doing it, or it didn’t happen.

tylersmayhem12:08 pm 18 Nov 08

i>Any thoughts on how this could be policed?

Full race lycra must be worn for the free ride! 😛

But , seriously folks I agree with who really cares about if a few tightarses will go the the effort to blag a free bus ride. What surprises me is the general “who cares” on this post, but there are plenty more outraged people because cyclists choose to ride all the way to work on the road?! I’m confused!

The likely outcome of all of this is ACTION will can free bus travel for people with bikes, bcause some people are taking the p**s, and it’s now largely broadcast on RA.

I have it, put a sign on the bus that says “Your bike must be at least this expenisve to use the rack”, with an appropriate illustration.

Of coure, my perfectly good new bike only cost $26 (it was heavily discounted but totally serviceable), so I’m scrwd.

Maybe only allow non-ferrous (no rust doesn’t count) frames, with cutom made titanium sprodgets and Cr-Mo rear flange struts. Also a computer trip speedo that cost more than 6 bikes bought from K-Mart.

I have heard of a few people hauling around an old wreck, just for the free bus ride. Some of them occaisionally ride their wreck, but most just push them around. The problem is legitimate cyclists who want to use the rack, but it is full of these junkers. The solution – make bus travel free for everyone!

I have never actually seen this happen, but my partner told me a story of some druggo woman with a shitty bike who couldn’t use the rack because it was already full, so she yelled and complained and threw the bike away.
A second guy said – are you just going to leave that there? and with an affirmative reply he took the bike and rode away

So I don’t see this potential abuse as a real problem.
The system is self limiting and gets more inconvenient as more people use the racks

That said, I don’t really see the need for a free ride – I buy a $22 10 ride ticket which lasts me a month or two of infrequent bus travel – using a $2.20 ride for my even more infrequent bike rack use wouldn’t concern me (I wouldn’t even mind paying a small premium for the service)

I think it’s enterprising that some have figured out how to work the system – but I think the system is dumb because this can happen.

Surely there can’t be that many doing this? Agree with the helmet condition, though.. otherwise the bus driver is aiding and abetting Grand-Ride-Topless (the worst crime of all).

Sammy said :

You have to at least be wearing bike pants, as well as being in possession of a bike.

and you have to have a real tight a**e too

If you want to raise the bar slightly, as well as encourage safe riding, require a helmet as well as a bike.

I think this is actually a good idea, especially considering that it is still a requirement to wear a bike helmet in the ACT (when riding a bike…)

JJ: I’d lay good odds that most of the naysayers don’t even use the bus at all, paying or otherwise.

I never understand why people get so infuriated at the merest suggestion that someone might be ‘getting away’ with something that has almost no impact whatsoever: some tightass gets a free bus ride and has to lug about a piece of sh1t bicycle to do it. So what?

That attempt to use this in an attempt to deny legitimate cyclists what they’re getting at the moment is incredibly mean-spirited, bitter jealousy: “Someone is getting something for free, and it isn’t me. This must be stopped!”

I don’t use the free bus service, but I fail to see why so many people resent the others who do.

They have to deal with carrying a lump of unused bike with them for the rest of the day, and repeat the process going home.

For those who scream about ‘he’s making a $1200 saving when I’m not’ argument, you’re not even paying cost price for an ACTION bus ride, and you can join in the same ‘scam’ yourself if you really want to.

I don’t see a problem with it, other than they’re occupying a bikerack spot that could have otherwise been used.
It still gets a car off the road instead of driving door to door, and they’re walking at least part of the way so Katy can claim her ‘fitness dividend’.

You have to at least be wearing bike pants, as well as being in possession of a bike.

Adult Monthly fare is $82, so the biggest saving they can get in a whole year is actually $984.

Really, if a few people want to walk beside their bike instead of sitting on it, good luck to ’em – can’t see the problem myself. If you want to raise the bar slightly, as well as encourage safe riding, require a helmet as well as a bike.

There’s an issue here? Seriously, how many would bother to go to such lengths to save a few dollars (even if it would add up over time)? For the (what I’m certain would be) very few that would bother, good luck to them.

Seriously, there cannot be that many tight-arses willing to go to this much effort for a free bus ride that we actually need to bother with trying to stop them.

i didn’t even realise you could use the buses for free if you had your bike! awesome – now i won’t have to ride home in the rain anymore!

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