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Cycling to public transit -- on Earth Day and every day



Today, Wednesday, April 22, millions of people will observe Earth Day by planting trees, cleaning up parks and other public spaces and attending thousands of events that help remind us to care for our environment.

But Transit Toronto readers don’t need a special day to remind us. We celebrate Earth Day every day by traveling on public transit.

This year, we can help protect the air we breathe on Earth Day — even more than we already do — by leaving the car at home and walking or cycling to public transit.

And, by cycling to public transit today — and as often as you can — you’re also helping fulfill the vision of municipal and provincial leaders in planning how residents of the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton will get around the region in the near future.

For example, MetrolinxRegional Transportation Plan highlights cycling as a prime way of traveling to and from transit stations and terminals and encourages transit agencies and municipalities to develop facilities for cyclists at these major transportation interchanges and on transit vehicles.

That’s the vision, but what’s the reality?

Let’s take a quick look at how — and if — you can go by bike to transit throughout the GTA and Hamilton.


GO Transit

GO first installed bike racks on its buses last August — but only on buses operating on the 16 Hamilton QEW Express and 18 Hamilton - Aldershot routes.

The good news is that, starting this Saturday, April 25, all GO buses operating on all routes will carry bike racks to help cyclists extend their bicycle trips throughout the GO service area.

Although you can’t take your bike on GO trains, if you’re arriving at Union Station between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. Mondays to Fridays or leaving Union between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays — you can take your bike on the trains at all other times of the week. From Monday to Friday, you can haul your bike by train in the off-peak direction during rush hours or in any direction from about 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and after 6:30 p.m. And, you can stow your bike on the trains all day Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Each train car includes room to store four bicycles. Riders can store two bikes beside each door on every car.

GO also has shelters and racks if you prefer to park your bike at a train station or bus terminal. Starting at Lisgar and Ajax Stations early last summer, GO has now built covered bicycle storage areas and improved security at most of its stations, and all stations will include them by next spring.

All GO train stations already have the new storage areas, except for:

  • Bloor;
  • Centennial;
  • Exhibition;
  • Kennedy;
  • Kipling;
  • Lincolnville;
  • Mount Pleasant;
  • Newmarket; and
  • Weston.

All GO bus terminals have bicycle storage facilities, except for:

  • Brampton Downtown Transit Terminal; (facilities at nearby Brampton GO Station.)
  • McMaster University Bus Terminal;
  • Mississauga City Centre Transit Terminal at Square One;
  • Richmond Hill Centre Terminal;
  • Scarborough Centre Bus Terminal;
  • York Mills Bus Terminal;
  • York University Bus Loop; and
  • Yorkdale Bus Terminal.

TTC

With the TTC’s Rack it and Rocket program, buses carrying bike racks operate along 82 of the TTC’s bus routes. The TTC expects all buses in its fleet will have bike racks by the end of 2010.

Each rack can accommodate two bikes. You can use the racks at any time of the week. But, if the racks are full, you can also bring your bikes onto a bus at any time of the week, except during Monday-to-Friday rush hours — if the bus has room for you and your bike.

You can see a map of routes with buses carrying racks here. (.pdf)

Streetcars do not have bike racks.

The City of Toronto also offers cyclists bike storage lockers at a number of locations through the City including Downsview, Finch and Kennedy Subway Stations and Exhibition, Guildwood and Long Branch GO Stations.


Barrie Transit

You can take your bike onto any bus at any time, as long as your bike doesn’t inconvenience other passengers or block exits and entrances.


Brampton Transit

This spring, Brampton Transit will support the MetrolinxRegional Transportation Plan by introducing Bikelinx — a program of bike racks on buses and at key transit sites throughout Brampton.


Burlington Transit

All buses operating on all routes carry bike racks.


Durham Region Transit

DRT allows you to take your bicycles onto a bus at any time except during rush hours between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 and 6:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Bus drives will determine whether the bus has enough space to allow you to bring your bike onto a bus at all other times of the week. DRT buses do not have racks.


Hamilton Street Railway

All buses operating on all routes carry bike racks.


Milton Transit

Milton Transit does not allow passengers to bring bikes on buses.


Mississauga Transit

MT hopes to have buses with bike racks soon. In the meantime, you can bring your bike inside a bus — if the driver allows you and if your bike doesn’t block exits and inconvenience other passengers.


Oakville Transit

OT has more than 50 buses with bike racks and continues to add more to its fleet. All buses operating on all routes between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and after 7 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and all day Saturdays, Sundays and holidays carry bike racks. You can’t bring your bike inside the bus.


York Region Transit

YRT buses don’t yet have bike racks. YRT does have bicycle lockers available for cyclist - passengers at many locations in York Region. You may bring your bike onto a YRT bus at any time of the week, except during rush hours, between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, or if the bus is crowded.

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