Meeting Date: July 11, 2007

Subject: Installation Of Bicycle Racks On Existing Buses

Recommendations

It is recommended that the Commission:

  1. Approve capital funding of $250,000 to allow for the unbudgeted continuation of bicycle rack installation on the existing bus fleet in 2007;
  2. Note that bicycle racks will continue to be installed on all TTC buses, at an accelerated rate starting in 2008, except for those buses scheduled to be retired and replaced over the next three years, so that all TTC buses will be equipped with bicycle racks by the end of 2010;
  3. Note that the installation of bicycle racks on the TTC’s current fleet of streetcars is not feasible or practical for various reasons, as described below; and
  4. Forward this report to the Toronto Cycling Committee, the City of Toronto, and the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority.

Funding

The retrofitting of bicycle racks on existing buses will require an unbudgeted capital expenditure of up to $250,000 in 2007, to purchase and install bicycle racks, as an expansion of the Installation of Bike Racks on Buses Project, as set out on pages 1033 to 1035 – category Improvement, of the TTC 2007 to 2011 Capital Program approved by Council on March 7, 2007. This capital expenditure can be accommodated through the anticipated under-expenditure in the 2007 bus overhaul program 4.13. A capital expenditure of up to $1,720,000 will be included in the 2008-2012 capital budget to purchase and install racks for the balance of the TTC’s existing bus fleet.

Background

At its meeting on September 20, 2006, the Commission considered the staff report, Bicycle Racks on TTC Buses – Results of Pilot Project, and approved the following motions:

  1. That the Commission approve a policy that bicycle racks be installed on all buses; and that staff be requested to submit a further report on the possibility of bicycle racks for streetcars.
  2. That all new bus purchases include a bicycle rack requirement in the tender specification.
  3. That staff be requested to report back on a retrofit program for the existing bus fleet.
  4. That staff be requested to report back on how to utilize new buses with bicycle racks to achieve the best roll-out on bicycle friendly routes.
  5. That staff be requested to give consideration to equipping buses on the Marlee route with bicycle racks.

This report responds to these motions.

Discussion

Retrofit Program to Install Bicycle Racks on Existing Buses

The plan to retrofit the TTC’s existing fleet of buses involves the installation of bicycle racks on 985 existing buses by the end of 2009. This means that racks will be installed on all existing buses except those which are scheduled to be retired and replaced by new buses over the next three years.

When the 2007 capital budget was prepared in the summer of 2006, the bicycle rack pilot project was still in progress, so there was no inclusion of funding in that budget for the installation of additional bicycle racks in 2007. With no budgeted workforce to do this work, it will be possible to install only a limited number of racks this year.

Staff plan to include the cost of purchasing and installing bicycle racks on all applicable existing buses in the 2008-2012 capital program, which will be presented to the Commission for approval this fall. The provision of the necessary resources in the capital program will allow the retrofit program to get underway in earnest in 2008. In that year, and continuing through 2009, forty buses will be retrofitted with bicycle racks each month until all applicable existing buses have been equipped. Sufficient bicycle racks will be purchased in 2007 so that the accelerated retrofit can begin in January 2008.

As described in the report, Status Report: Bicycle Racks on New Buses (January 31, 2007), all new buses being ordered by the TTC will be delivered with bicycle racks already installed, or with the mounting brackets already installed in order to allow quick completion of the rack installation by TTC staff. By the end of 2008, 414 bicycle rack-equipped buses are scheduled to be delivered. With the delivery of additional new buses in 2009-2010 to replace vehicles scheduled to be retired, the entire TTC bus fleet will be equipped with bicycle racks by the end of 2010.

Allocation of Bicycle Rack-Equipped Buses on TTC Routes

The TTC’s bus fleet will be undergoing significant changes over the next several months because new low-floor (and bicycle rack-equipped) buses will be delivered, and because the new Mt. Dennis Bus Garage will open this fall. When that garage opens, there will be a major re-allocation of buses and routes among TTC garages, and this will affect the location and availability of bicycle rack-equipped buses for routes throughout the city. As more new buses arrive in 2008-2010, the bus fleet will continue to be moved and re-allocated among garages in order to allow achievement of the accessibility objectives of the TTC’s Accessible Transit Services Plan and for fleet management and efficiency reasons.

Similarly, the assignment or despatching of specific buses to specific routes must be driven first and foremost by the need to provide accessible service on designated routes on a consistent basis. Therefore, it will not be practical to designate individual routes as “bike rack equipped” until a “critical mass” of rack-equipped buses is available at any given garage. As the retrofit program proceeds, more and more routes will be designated as rack equipped, but no commitment to specific routes – including the 109 RANEE route – can be made at this time. In the interim, there will be times when recently-procured or retrofitted bicycle rack-equipped buses will operate on routes which are not yet designated as bike rack equipped.

Bicycle Racks on Streetcars

The installation of bicycle racks on the TTC’s current streetcars is not feasible or practical for the following reasons:

  1. The rack and/or bicycle would prevent proper engagement of the streetcar’s anticlimbers in the event of a collision, which could result in more-severe injuries and/or damage; 
  2. A deployed rack (with a stowed bicycle) would encroach on the dynamic envelope for streetcars negotiating curves within loops or turning on streets; and
  3. It would not be prudent to encourage customers to stand in the middle of a road, immediately adjacent to oncoming traffic (where they are not as clearly visible to traffic), for the purpose of loading and unloading bicycles onto or off of streetcars.

The TTC is in the process of procuring new fully-accessible, larger-capacity streetcars for delivery starting in 2010, and this will provide the opportunity to incorporate bicycle racks in the interior of the vehicles, as is done in other cities.

June 25, 2007
11-31-58