Transportation

Entire GO Bus Fleet Now Equipped With Bike Racks

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 30, 2009

GO Transit has announced that their entire fleet of GO Buses is now equipped with bike racks. Like the HSR bike racks, the GO Bus racks are on the front of the bus and can carry up to two bikes at a time.

In addition, bicycles and electric bicycles are permitted on GO Trains during off-peak hours on weekdays, (outside of 6:30-9:30 AM and 3:30-6:30 PM), plus all day on weekends and statutory holidays.

Folding bicycles are allowed on GO Trains at all times, though GO Transit does ask riders to follow folding bike etiquette.

As part of its strategy to encourage cycling, GO Transit is installing covered bicycle storage area in several stations by the end of 2009. Check the GO Transit Stations and Stops page to see if your station has or will have bike storage.

Related: watch a video on mounting a bicycle on an HSR bike rack.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted April 30, 2009 at 11:07:37

This is a step in the right direction but the majority of GO riders still can't use bikes in conjunction with the system.

Most GO trips are by train and most trains run ONLY during rush hour during which bikes are prohibited. Most GO riders ride the train to get to work. No bikes.

I ride the GO everywhere, all the time and have very rarely been able to bring my bike. As long as some part of the trip there or back involves a rush hour train, that's it, no bike.

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By Mike (registered) | Posted April 30, 2009 at 12:28:52

I bike and train to work and it would be enormously helpful some days to board with my bike at Hamilton station.

Nevertheless the reason for the restriction makes sense - bikes crowding already busy trains during rush hour would be a pain.

A solution that has worked well for me is keeping a cheap bike locked up at work-side of the commute. That way I can bike-train-bike. Plus right when I started commuting this way they built all those new bike shelters - nice!

I like the way they address this in Holland - you buy a ticket for your bike. It keeps the trains from arbitrarily crowding with bikes, but you at least CAN take it with you when required. For example bringing the 'remote' bike home for maintenance. If the restrictions stay into the future then GO would do well to allow a 'bike ticket' during rush hour trains for individual special cases.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted April 30, 2009 at 15:07:45

I use the 2 bike system and actually prefer it for the daily commute. But doesn't help me get anywhere else and it doesn't help the average rider for whom riding one bike is enough of a stretch.

My boss at work is moving from Richmond Hill to Toronto to have a more reasonable commute and wants to bike and take the train. I had to explain the intricacies of the bike policy and how he would need to use 2 bikes or get a folding bike. This is exactly the type of person GO is trying to attract - someone who is able to drive but would take the GO if it is practical, and who is willing to get to the station by means other than driving. Yet the system is clearly not easy to use in this case.

How about they have one car - say the last car on the train - the designated bike car and allow bikes on the lower level of that car. They could remove a few rows of seats to make extra space for bikes. That would have a minimal effect on regular passengers. They could use special storage hooks to fit more bikes into less space and use fold-down seats to provide extra seating capacity when there are fewer bikes taking up space.

Innovations such as these are commonplace in more bike-friendly countries, and if GO is serious about multi-modal accessibility which by all indications it is, then we should be seeing them here in the near future.

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By we_may_be_hidden_by_rags (anonymous) | Posted April 30, 2009 at 17:33:02

This is great news! I've been waiting for this announcement for some time. I'd like to commute gy GO bus along 407 route, but have not been able to do so, because my work stop is 8 km from my work. I'm looking forward to biking through the MAC campus and hopping the GO!

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By Business Professional (anonymous) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 10:00:44

I envy those who can dress in attire for their work day that is suitable for biking.
Reality is not every job allows such casual attire and one would not present well after driving a bike in suit.
Another reality is safety in many areas riding a bike at rush hour, when others are driving like maniacs to get to work isn't the safest venue.
How about toting ones briefcase, lunch and laptop and then at the work end add to that your biking helmut.
Then not everyone is in good enough physical shape to ride the distance to the go - or live close enough.
In my case I am physically fit but it would likely take 45 minutes to an hour to get to the go station and I need to wear a suit - carry my laptop, lunch, etc.
I would be a mess once I got to work. Though I love the therory and welcome the additional exercise, it just wouldn't work.
For the masses - we need safe, practical, accessable and affortable options.
For some biking works, glad it helps some.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 10:11:59

"I envy those who can dress in attire for their work day that is suitable for biking."

You're not even trying.

  1. If you have to wear a suit to work, you can probably find somewhere at work where you can leave your suits.

  2. Splash guards and rain suits mean you get to work dry even when it's raining/snowing.

  3. Tire rack / panniers / knapsack can hold all the stuff you need to tote.

  4. Anyone in even moderate physical condition can cycle easily. The more you do it, the more healthy and strong you get and the faster you can ride.

  5. Why do you live an hour's bike ride from the nearest GO Bus stop? Is it so you can afford the car you use to get to work.....?

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted May 03, 2009 at 01:46:23

I wish I could find the link for you. But somebody makes garment bag / panniers for suits. They look pretty sweet and get great reviews.

In Europe (and increasingly in big cities in NA) the "city bike" is very common among white collar workers. A comfortable geometry and ample chain guards make these bikes suit friendly. Personally, I still opt for the road bike.

I'm a white-collar worker. I don't have to wear a suit, but I do wear dress pants, collared shirt, etc. A "pant strap" keeps the pants from getting greased.

I used to wear athletic gear and fold my work clothes carefully in my pannier. I still do that in the summer. But for the other three seasons, I've figured out it makes more sense for me to just wear the work clothes. I've been bike commuting long enough that I can ride fairly fast without working up a sweat. A microfibre undershirt and good (natural) deoderant means that my dress shirts can take multiple wears without a wash, even riding. (So much for the claim that cyclists are Luddites.)

I check the weather every day. I pretty much wear my waterproof/windbreaker every day, except in summer. But if it's going to be raining, I also take rain pants (over the dress pants)and booties (over the dress boots).

In the winter, you would be surprised how much a synthetic fibre ballaclava under the helmet and tights under the pants makes riding comfortable. (I would wear longjohns even if I wasn't riding.) And I can't stress enough: get a decent windbreaker.

It all sounds really complex. But it becomes second nature fairly quickly, just like the hassles of keeping a car on the road. I would say it's easier overall than car ownership, especially when you consider the portion of you wages / salary (representing time worked) that gets swallowed up by a car.

Plus, are you going on the highway? There's no way I would do that. You can't read, sleep, write a diary, blog. It's basically unpaid work.

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