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An open letter on bus bike racks

By johnboy - 16 January 2013 44

Dear ACTION,

Last Friday (12 Jan 2013), I left home on my bicycle at 7:10. I reached Osbourne Dr in Macgregor and waited for the 7:27am 703 bus. It arrived bu did not have a bike rack. The next 703 bus arrived at 7:47 and also did not have a bike rack. Finally I caught a 43 bus at 7:57, then had to wait at Belconnen Interchange for a bus with a bike rack to come (that was the third one to arrive). I finally arrived at work at 9am.

It took me also 2 hours to get to work by bike and bus. Not that the buses that did not have bike racks were a SCANIA K320UB and a new Scania K360UA.

I am dismayed that ACTION is buying buses that cannot have bike racks fitted. It is already annoying enough that I have to wait for multiple bases to arrive before one finally turns up with a bike rack. Why are you compound this problem by buying buses that cannot fit bike racks?

It is already hard to convince Canberrans to get on buses, why limit their options to only being able to walk to their bus.

Regards,

Dr Justin Murray

What’s Your opinion?


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44 Responses to
An open letter on bus bike racks
Madman 1:15 pm 16 Jan 13

Who cares…. You could have ridden to work. What about people in wheelchairs – Not all the busses are equipped for them either yet.

thebrownstreak69 1:07 pm 16 Jan 13

Pitchka said :

Jesus..
We have the right to ride on the road, hog a full lane, ride through an intersection even if there is a red light, fail to give way at intersections, fail to give hand signals to indicate which way we are turning, and now, AND NOW, there dont seem to be enough bike racks on buses!!!

FOR GODS SAKE KATIE, WHEN WILL YOU GIVE IN TO OUR DEMANDS, DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND US BIKE RIDERS ARE A SPECIAL SPECIES, WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?

AND YOU DON’T EVEN PAY REGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

snoopydoc 12:55 pm 16 Jan 13

As has been pointed out, it’s a well known and openly advertised fact that not all buses have bike racks fitted, and even if they do, they can only carry a couple of bikes. Relying on them for time-critical transport is therefore a fairly daft thing to do.

A more reliable option for you might be to either (1) simply ride all the way to work, or (2) do a park’n’ride maneuver (i.e. ride as far as you are happy or able to, preferably to an interchange, then lock up your bike and take the bus the rest of the way).

Additionally, if you’re writing a letter to a government organisation, and indeed publishing it openly, one might consider it prudent to pay slightly more attention to spelling and grammar, particularly if your name is preceded by the term “Dr”. Just sayin’… 😉

KB1971 12:42 pm 16 Jan 13

thatsnotme said :

It’s not about scoring a bad run – ACTION actually plan it so that there’s a very good chance you won’t be able to travel with a bike if you’re trying to catch a 300 series bus, especially if you’re trying to go to or from work.

These routes, especially in peak times, use the larger buses that don’t have racks – which makes sense, because they can fit more people on them. So that 20% without racks are probably 60-70% of the buses running at that time.

I ride the 703 often, and most of them in the morning peak are articulated buses – and they’ve never had racks, whether new or old.

I understand the Dr’s frustration, and I’ve been in the same position, but it just takes a bit of planning to work around.
.

I am not so sure about this. Take the 318 & 319 for EG.

I regularly see the 319 as a tag steer jobbie, even at off peak times (2pm one day in Civic trying to get home with a bike, ended up just riding from Tuggeranong) and the 318 as just a 12m jobbie. Both of them start & finish at Lanyon, they just do different sides of the valley.

It seems that they have not divided them evenly between all 300 routes. This is a PITA for me as I rely on the 319, I have had the supervisors say to me “just get on another one” which wont get me home all the way.

BUT the Expresso buses seem to have more racks on them now so I can rely on them (except for the bloke who drives the long 785 in the afternoon…..).

Anyway, as a cyclist the buses are less reliable for me but I can still make them work if I plan for it. I had my routine down pat, ride in one day bus home, ride both ways another & then bus the next. It was working well until the tag steers turned up (which BTW the one at 7:10 I normally pick up is rarely full).

Hopefully with the new live tracking thingy they are planning they may have a notification on if a bus is cyclist friendly.

damien haas 12:39 pm 16 Jan 13

ACTION wont be able to schedule buses with bike racks on specific routes at specific times, because seniority of drivers determines who gets what run, and drivers can also choose what bus they want to drive.

Keijidosha 12:34 pm 16 Jan 13

Going by the OP’s story it is pretty safe to assume that he lives in new MacGregor and works in the city (or Barton). If that is the case, you could argue that there is no need to lug the bike to his destination and it could have been locked up at the bus stop before boarding the 703.

Given the intended purpose of the 700 series buses (and the high patronage of the 703 in particular) I can understand why they’d be more likely to be serviced by articulated buses that lack bike racks. Not totally excusable, but reasonable in my opinion.

In any case, is the issue really worthy of an open letter?

Dante 12:27 pm 16 Jan 13

AFAIK, the newest buses that Action have been purchasing can’t have the current racks installed. This isn’t going to get any better for those who are looking to utilise the service.

M0les 12:09 pm 16 Jan 13

As I’ve said from the start (to my bus-driving mate): Unless every bus has racks, they can’t be relied-on for time-critical transport (I do wish we could).

As it is, the best they can be used for is serendipitous joy-riding.

Also: If you’re in a situation where you’re displeased with the lack of racks on a bus, please don’t take it up with the driver – They don’t get any say in the matter and similarly aren’t involved in customer feedback.

thatsnotme 12:07 pm 16 Jan 13

Jivrashia said :

…And immediately below this article, in the “Related Content” section, is the link to the article promising that 80% of the ACTION buses will have bike racks fitted by June 2012.

Sorry Doc, but unless Katie was spinning tales you somehow managed to score a bad run of the 20% of the rack-less buses. I’m assuming the models you’ve mentioned ARE the ones for which racks cannot be fitted due to their size?

It’s not about scoring a bad run – ACTION actually plan it so that there’s a very good chance you won’t be able to travel with a bike if you’re trying to catch a 300 series bus, especially if you’re trying to go to or from work.

These routes, especially in peak times, use the larger buses that don’t have racks – which makes sense, because they can fit more people on them. So that 20% without racks are probably 60-70% of the buses running at that time.

I ride the 703 often, and most of them in the morning peak are articulated buses – and they’ve never had racks, whether new or old.

I understand the Dr’s frustration, and I’ve been in the same position, but it just takes a bit of planning to work around.

The one thing I wish ACTION would do, and that I suggested to them a while back (and didn’t ever receive a response to) is mark which buses are expected to have racks on their timetables. They manage to do this with wheelchair accessible buses, so I can’t see why they couldn’t do it with bike racks. They’d certainly better have something like this once their real time system is in place.

zorro29 12:05 pm 16 Jan 13

lol @ #4…i am a cyclist and even i giggled too much at that

as an aside i was once in a bad mood after leaving work close to 8pm and decided to go through a red light to expedite my trip (as there was no one coming in other directions and we were about to get a green)…and just my luck i get pulled over by the cops!! had to do a little talking not to get a fine…oh the humanity. meanwhile every second bogan car sounds like gunshots and nothing is done about that

go indignant and cranky cyclist solidarity 🙂

Holden Caulfield 11:55 am 16 Jan 13

Pitchka said :

Jesus..
We have the right to ride on the road, hog a full lane, ride through an intersection even if there is a red light, fail to give way at intersections, fail to give hand signals to indicate which way we are turning, and now, AND NOW, there dont seem to be enough bike racks on buses!!!

FOR GODS SAKE KATIE, WHEN WILL YOU GIVE IN TO OUR DEMANDS, DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND US BIKE RIDERS ARE A SPECIAL SPECIES, WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?

Katie G is the second coming?!

Pitchka 11:52 am 16 Jan 13

Jesus..
We have the right to ride on the road, hog a full lane, ride through an intersection even if there is a red light, fail to give way at intersections, fail to give hand signals to indicate which way we are turning, and now, AND NOW, there dont seem to be enough bike racks on buses!!!

FOR GODS SAKE KATIE, WHEN WILL YOU GIVE IN TO OUR DEMANDS, DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND US BIKE RIDERS ARE A SPECIAL SPECIES, WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?

davo101 11:29 am 16 Jan 13

Dear Dr Murray,

Even if every ACTION bus had bike racks you still can’t rely on using them. There is only space for two bikes so you are betting on the fact that no one else will be using them. My suggestion: invest in a e-bike and just ride to work, you can get a long way in 2 hours.

Regards,

Random dude on the internet.

zorro29 11:16 am 16 Jan 13

but the Action website doesn’t promise that every bus going to every suburb will have bike racks…quite the opposite actually.

i don’t ride buses but it seems you’d need to expect that you’re not always going to get the bike racks if you’re not on the routes/bus numbers that promise them

Jivrashia 10:50 am 16 Jan 13

…And immediately below this article, in the “Related Content” section, is the link to the article promising that 80% of the ACTION buses will have bike racks fitted by June 2012.

Sorry Doc, but unless Katie was spinning tales you somehow managed to score a bad run of the 20% of the rack-less buses. I’m assuming the models you’ve mentioned ARE the ones for which racks cannot be fitted due to their size?

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