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Cycling and public transit a good combo for Car-Free Day -- or any day



On Tuesday, September 22, millions of people will observe International Car-Free Day by leaving their cars at home and finding some other way to get to where they’re going.

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

If you’re used to driving your car to a commuter parking lot before you take the train or bus to work, Tuesday may be the day to dig out your bike from the basement or garage, wipe off the dust and cobwebs, put on your helmet and ride to the bus stop or train station.

That’s because cycling and transit make a good combination. And, by cycling to public transit today — and as often as you can — you’re helping to improve the air that we breath and 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, Metrolinx’ regional transportation plan, “The Big Move” 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. Through its Bikelinx program, Metrolinx is helping fund more bicycle and cyclist facilities on transit systems through the region.

Let’s see how you can go by bike to transit throughout the GTA and Hamilton.


GO Transit

Since Saturday, April 25, all GO buses operating on all routes carry bike racks to help cyclists extend their bicycle trips throughout the GO service area.

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 — but 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 in summer 2008, 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; 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.

And, starting this fall, GO will offer reserved bike parking spots at the Hamilton GO Centre and Burlington GO Station.


TTC

With the TTC’s Rack it and Rocket program, buses carrying bike racks operate along 115 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

All BT buses have included bike racks since April 29.


Burlington Transit

All buses operating on all routes carried bike racks before the Bikelinx program — since 2006.


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.


Guelph Transit

All GT buses have included bike racks since August 4.


Hamilton Street Railway

All buses operating on all routes carried bike racks before the Bikelinx program — since 2006.


Milton Transit

All buses have included bike racks since September 8


Mississauga Transit

All buses have included bike racks since June 22.


Oakville Transit

OT has installed bike racks on more than 50 of its buses 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, but starting this fall, YRT will start installing the racks on Viva buses. It expects that all buses in its fleet will carry bike racks by spring 2010. 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 (from about 6:30 until 9:30 a.m. and from about 3:30 until 6:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays) or if the bus is crowded.