Integrated transport needs bicycles

Just before the election Infrastructure Tasmania released its Hobart Transport Vision

It details the need for faster and more frequent public transport, better cycling and walking infrastructure and the removal of some on-street parking to free up road space.

While the vision’s focus was on rapid bus transport, ferries and cycling lanes, it was interesting to see the futuristic images showing Metro buses with bicycle racks on the back.

Integrated transport is a phrase that keeps popping up in the debates about Hobart’s traffic congestion problems.

It refers to the desirability of moving seamlessly from one type of transport to another to make travelling easier.

In the case of bicycles, it could refer to the provision of secure, undercover parking at transport stops, or the ability to carry bicycles on buses, light rail and ferries.

No bike racks for Tassie

Bicycle Network checked in with Metro Tasmania to see whether bike racks were back on the agenda following trials in 2012–13.

However, Metro reports that after trialling racks on ten buses plying three Hobart routes for two months it decided not to expand the trials statewide due to operational difficulties.

Passengers with folding bicycles can take them on buses, but regular bicycles are a no go.

Bike racks on buses are used in cities worldwide and may suit hilly or outlying areas of Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

Canberra has had racks for years, Melbourne recently conducted a one-year trial on four routes and is assessing the results, and they are common on Canadian and American buses.

Buses in some cities have space inside the vehicle for bicycles to be strapped in, such as in Lisbon in Portugal and Connecticut in the US.

Bike and Ride

Metro has developed two “bike and ride services” in Hobart, where bike racks have been put in at the park and ride car parks and next to bus shelters on selected routes. 

There is scope for these services to be more sophisticated, with covered lockers for bicycles as well as open-air racks.

The recently released Menzies Institute Tasmanian Travel and Physical Activity Study 2017 proposed ten options to get more people using public transport. 

Survey participants were interested in Park and ride and bike and ride facilities that connected to express buses in outer Hobart areas, the Kingborough council area and eastern shore of Hobart, with full-time students across all areas also interested.

Future integration

Bicycles can be an important part of efforts to integrate Tasmania’s transport modes. Proposed light rail for Hobart could easily be reached by bicycle and bikes taken onboard or left in secure lockers at stations.

Ferries around the world have options for bicycle storage on board and would be a tourism boon as well as useful for commuters.

Park and ride services where parking is available for commuters near separated cycleways could spur on more people to ride.

It would help people living more than 10km from their destination save money on petrol and parking and give them a chance to get some exercise into their day.

Image: Metro Transit