Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pedal power and rush hour

It's 803 am, your bikes have zero priority on this train.

After asking three sweaty men to move their bikes out of the aisle, I suggested they spread themselves out.

One decides to plant himself in the empty space behind me, near the door and proceeds to service his bike, pumping up the tires, taking the wheels off. A small toolbox appears on the floor. I told him this train gets packed once we come into Ajax.

I sense a fight coming on.


James said...

We have one on the Milton line that leaves his bike by the doors and finds a seat in the lower section sometimes with his back to it. I'm just waiting for someone to take off with it at Keele.

Al said...

I disagree with ya, Can't expect someone who needs to be at work for 9:00 or 9:30 and bikes up to bloor from union, to get on a 6:00 train to get to work. There's plenty of room for bikes and the train is first come first serve.

I know even GO has a policy during rush hour and I disagree with that too. Go should accomadate and have a seperate car for them.

Anonymous said...

While I don't bike to work, and I hate to stand on the train, I still feel GO should allow bikes anytime.

I know it's a hassle for fellow commuters, but the bikers are doing their part, and you can't be "pro" bike with the lockers and such at the stattions and then prohibit them on trains for certain hours.

lswgirl13 said...

When is there "plenty of room" on a rush hour train? I gotta pay for extra baggage on a plane, so fine, bring your bike during rush hour only PAY EXTRA FOR IT!
I've travelled the MetroNorth and LIRR to NYC and you pay a PREMIUM fare to ride during rush hours. You see, everywhere it's all about the rush hours and commuters which is why I don't wanna deal with bikes and day travellers at rush hour!

Gary said...

She said she suggested they spread themselves out of the aisle (duh) and that the bikes aren't the priority. She didn't say get off the train and if the bikes needs fixing, I agree it can be done at Union or how about in your driveway?

C.J. Smith said...

Used to bring my bike on the GO train all the time in the 90s when I would head to Whitby Friday nights to hook up with my beau at the time for weekend trail rides so I'm not anti-bike. I'm anti-rude. Bikes don't belong next to you in the aisle that you hold onto while you sit. Move them out of the way.

mumzthewurd said...

I'm really surprised to hear about bikes on the Milton train. That train only has rush hour service so bikes are not allowed on that line at any time. Once again Go gets a big fat "F" on enforcement of it's own rules.

Matt said...

@ Anonymous – “you can't be "pro" bike with the lockers and such at the stattions and then prohibit them on trains for certain hours.”


Are you joking? Let’s look at your keywords here. Lockers. Stations. Ever cross your mind maybe that the point of the bike racks AT the station, is to discourage you from taking it on the train? GO has never prohibited them.

Unless you’re a bike courier (and honestly, I don’t know of many that live in the ‘burbs and then commute via GO every morning), you likely won’t be riding your bike downtown all day. The likely scenario is that you’ll just lock it up outside your office. So, why not lock it up at the GO station instead and save the hassle? That make too much sense?

Al said...

@ matt.

What if you ride your bike from your house to the station you depart from in "the burbs".

And then cycle from Union to Bloor?

Are you to buy 2 bikes to accomadate this? one to park in the lockers for downtown use and one to park at your go station to get to and from home?

Dakota said...

If you really need a bike in town get a BIXI membership.

Al said...

@ lswgirl,

You pay extra for a bag on a flight to cover fuel expenses due to the extra weight youre carrying, not because it takes up more space. Bags go in the hold anyway.

Im not saying you could lay a mattress down and stretch out but there is definitely room to be found.

@ dakota - I guess that would be an option as of what 2 weeks ago?

lswgirl13 said...

Yeh, I get that Al but the GO is basically a commuter train and is used during peak hours. The average and majority of commuters walk or TTC it to work and don't ride bikes. During the peak hours there just isn't room for bikes.

Al said...

The average and majorty of people on the GO are not disabled, but they accomadate for the few who are.

Al said...

Before that comment is taken out of context I am just saying majority means nothing. Next you will be saying majority of commuters do not commute with childrn so strollers should be banned on rush hour trains.

No disrepect intended to disabled persons.

People with bikes have to get where they are going too. and taking an earlier/later train in the evening is not an option.

mandy said...


Wow, you're ignorant. The Disability Act is a federal piece of legislation that mandates that those of us with mobility issues (many of us in wheelchairs can't ride a typical, unmodified bike) have the RIGHT to enter a business, ride transit, access places of worship, hospitals, places of employment with ease and without barriers.

I can't climb onto a train. However, people hauling a bike can. But my priority to get on that train trumps the guy with the bike every time in my opinion. Lock it up. Take another train. I once was late for work to accomodate all the strollers of mothers on their way to Centre Island one morning. How was this fair? Who says they have to be at the Island by 10 am and since when does a stroller make someone disabled? They could have spread themeselves out thrpighout the train.

It was the government that forced accessibility options. The government and GO Transit don't owe cyclists any further comfort.

Thank you;

mandy said...


Too late. I had to say my piece even tho I know you weren't being malicious.

mandy said...

but it still was ignorant of you to say that. i'd give anything to ride a bike.

Skin Man said...

oooh stellar closing comment!


Al said...

Ok Bad example but GO Also stipulates that strollers must go in the accesability car. I have seen the conductors tell mothers they must be on that car.

I am totally for the disability act, and if for instance one day the ramp onto the train didnt work or the elevators were busted on the platform I would be one of the first to offer to carry you on your way, or down the stairs.

I am not ignorant just chose a bad example, I am sorry and did not mean to offend,

If it came to you being unable to board a train becuase it was too packed and their were multiple bikes/strollers filling up the car, it would be on the conductor to alleviate that situation, I agree your priority does trump those able bodied individuals.

I should have gone with the strollers example only, but the other came to me first and I didnt see LSW's point regarding majority. Majorities are how racism and persecution are Begin.

Al said...

It wasnt really ignorant, It's not like I said the fact that they do accomadate for the few was a stupid thing to do.

Al said...

Besides it almost seemed like LSW was saying they should only consider the majority of commuters when planning transit.

Go make her feel like a douche.

lswgirl13 said...

Al I'm not going to jump all over you because I think both you and Mandy make good points but I definitely don't see that racism and persecution begin with majorities. Accessibility for disabled persons is a right, riding a bike isn't. Bike riders do have other options available.

lswgirl13 said...

I guess we were typing at the same time Al cause' now I will jump all over you. Last I checked we live in a democracy and majority rules. So while GO and employers, etc. accommodate disabled persons in accordance with the LAW, I'm pretty sure we don't have The Bike Riders Act!!! I'm not anti-bike but obviously it's not being embraced or the City wouldn't be getting rid of the bike lanes on Jarvis. "Go make her feel like a douche"??? Mature.

Al said...

I love arguing.

If the majority of people agree with a given point i.e Certain people are born stupid, others cant drive, some are only good for cooking and making babies and shouldnt vote. Then the majority conforms to this notion and all of a sudden certain people (the minority ) are labled as inferior.

Until some tiny litle voice somehow breaks the barrier and the majority realizes that, "hey, we were wrong" and things need to change,

Then you get disability acts and human rights etc.

Now this all spun from a little "example" of why is it right when the majority says so, I never said peple with disabilities should not be granted access to anywhere, it was a poor example of how does the majority negativley influence society.

What other options do people that have to get a bike downtown have? Leave earlier? Why dont you leave earlier to avoid crowded trains? Dont like waking up sooner than you have to? Maybe they dont either. thats why they chose the train they chose.

Just as mature as stating the majority rules.

Might equals right eh?

The city getting rid of the bike lanes that never should have been put there int he first place, I agree, all they need is a little 3 foot lane off the curb, ot a whole xcars worth of lanes, they should have anticipated the traffic jams that would result by closing the street to one lane. not that it is not being embraced just poor planing.

lswgirl13 said...

Al - I'm a woman, I am NEVER wrong!:P
And I get up early enough as it is because it takes a massive amount of time to look this good!
I feel the need to hug now.

Al said...

I'm married so I know the never wrong thing.

I used to be able to dress myself in the morning and leave the house feeling I looked fine, until my wife started asking "you're not wearing that are you"?

It usually takes me more time to get my lunch ready in the morning than it does to get dressed. (being bald helps)

I did not mean to upset anyone and felt like a real douche when Mandy commented, I was trying to have more members in the club since it was a retort to your comment that got me in such hot water.

In no way do I feel that disabled people should be put out over bikes/strollers or just plain rude people. The comment should have been worded differently to better convey the point I was trying to make. You can see how quickly I tried to disarm the situation I saw coming, alas too late damage done.

On a side note I will have to bring the Boy (1 yr old) home with me tonite, in a stroller and am not looking forward to waiting on the platform to get into the elevator behind all the shmucks that don't really need to use the elevator at Ajax.

Hope it's me you wanted to hug,

Sorry if I offended anyone.

mandy said...

i'm sorry i called you ignorant Al.
Let me give you a hug. (Here)

It's all good. I still have visions of peoples in bikes bursting into flames but i'm getting help for that.

sam said...

Wow. All we need is a troll and we'
re set.

Al said...

Thanks Mandy,

No help needed for that as long as they are not actual flames and/or you are not the source of igniotion.

Wait who's the troll?

lswgirl13 said...

Well I wanted to hug you Al but since you have a wife, well, I feel we should shake hands instead. And good luck with "the boy". My stroller pushing days are behind me now but I remember the struggles when people wouldn't hold doors open for me. Can't imagine doing it on public transit.

Dan-1 said...

-The rules are in place for a reason. GO doesn't want you bringing bikes on the train during rush hour likely for capacity and passenger flow issues. If everyone brought their bikes on a train during rush hour, it would be a mess. People wouldn't be able to get down the aisles, there would be less room to stand, and it creates flow issues in an emergency. Cycling should be encouraged yes, but GO doesn't cater to cyclists and being able to bring your bike on a train isn't a right, it's a privilege GO grants off-peak.

-GO allows bikes on buses because they have special racks that accomodate them outside the bus. GO trains don't have this and therefore bikes must be stored inside with passengers.

-If they put on a car specially for bikes, people would complain that it should be for regular seating (and before anyone brings up the Niagara Falls bike cars, that operation is more of a touristy thing GO operates on weekends).

As for people having to go from Union to Bloor, it's not like they don't have other choices: they can easily take a 10 minute ride on the subway. But "Waaaah I don't want to pay more for the TTC"? Factor it into your choice of getting a job there rather than somewhere closer.

lswgirl13 said...

Perfectly said Dan-1!!!

Anonymous said...

I have heard the CSA tell someone to take their bike off the train as it is a rush hour train (6:12 am). Even at that ungodly hour, it's full by Guildwood. And, arriving at Union at 7:15, it's full-on rush hour and getting your bike off and down to the street would likely take out a few people on the stairs. As for the buses, they can carry two bikes on the front racks. If more than two riders show up, they can put their bike under the bus in the luggage compartment (to slide around the whole trip) or they can wait for the next bus. GO allows bikes as a courtesy - your perceived right to bring your bike doesn't trump another person's right to be able to get on the train. Sheesh.

Al said...

Actually to clarify I dont even bring a bike on the train, never have.

I just dont see a problem with them on their during rush hour, I can see the point of safety however, if a few dozen go on the same day and time try to borad. but 1 or 2 in each car on a 12 car train spreads it out a bit.

And I agree if there are bodies put out due to too many bikes than the bikes have to go but if there is room, to sqeeze on an express from say pickering,

let them, on.

Subliminal said...

No one here seems to have read the tariff before entering this discussion so I'd like to mention a solution for the bike addicts: folding bikes

Folding bikes are allowed at all times on the trains, even rush hour.
Many (but obviously not enough) currently use these on rush hour trains and they are perfect for the to the office bike ride.
I know some riders are still going to complain that they are not good enough for them but they are a good compromise for this situation.
Save the racing bike your weekend rides at home.

Kelly said...

I wonder if GO could rig one of the cars with some exterior racks that bikes could be placed on, a similar idea to bike racks that some buses have. It would add some time to departures, but it's an idea!

Anonymous said...

Kelly, that would be very very unlikely to happen. Railcars are built to meet certain clearance profiles, so that they clear lineside obstructions such as bridges, platforms, signals, lineside obstacles and train station roofs. Adding bikes or bike racks to the sides of cars would stick out enough to violate those clearances.

GO does have a few cars with bike racks for the Niagara Falls weekend trains, but they take up a whole level of seating. Very little benefit for most trains and most people.

Example here.

Milton Line Rider said...

There has been a case of bike rage at Union one time.

On an afternoon trip westbound to Milton (the 16h50 train to be exact), a cyclist attempted to board the train with his bike. He didn't try to sneak it on one of the rear coaches, he attempted to get it onto one of the middle coaches. When Conductor Pete saw this, he got on the PA and told the guy that the bike was not permitted on the train. This was within a couple of minutes before departure.

The guy's response? He tossed the bike off the train onto the platform and remained on board!