Back in 2010 I was lucky enough to spend some time in Vancouver, where all buses are equipped with bike racks, and it’s very easy to combine cycling with public transport. I blogged about this at the time, looking forward to some day being able to do the same thing in Wellington. GWRC and Go Wellington are slowly working towards putting bike racks on buses.
However having recently acquired a Tern P9 folding bike as part of a European adventure, I was keen to see how useful folding bikes are on Wellington buses. The Metlink policy is that “Compact, fully folding cycles will be carried at all times and on all trains, buses and ferries…” So how does this work in practice?
My first idea was a recreational ride. I’ve always thought the Karori route was a sitter for bikes on buses, so one lunch “hour” I caught the No 3 bus from Lambton Quay to the end of the route at South Karori. The bus was fairly empty, so I didn’t have any problems stowing the Tern between a couple of seats. At Karori I unfolded the bike and continued on to complete the Makara – Johnsonville circuit, congratulating myself on having bought 200 metres of altitude with my Snapper card.
How about a utility ride? I work at Victoria University’s Pipitea Campus, but every so often have to attend meetings up on the Kelburn campus – not that far, but not that attractive a bike ride. Either slogging up the Terrace with impatient traffic breathing down your neck, or for a real aerobic challenge, the quieter but steeper Bolton Street.
The No 17 leaves from just outside Rutherford House where my office is. The lecture schedule meant there was a long line of students waiting to get the bus from their law/commerce classes at Pipitea to their science/humanities classes up at Kelburn. But I waited until everyone was on, found there was a Tern sized luggage space just behind the first row of seats, and had an effortless 8 minute trip up the hill. After my meeting, I was able to enjoy the Tern swooping down Salamanca into the CBD.
The fact that you can take folding bikes on buses now shouldn’t delay efforts to allow standard bikes on buses in the near future. But if you do decide to invest in a folder, it opens up some great possibilities for using the public transport system.
*If you’ve got a folding bike!