The ACT Government ‘transport for Canberra policy‘ has (amongst other things) an objective to increase the use of ‘active transport’ – walking, bicycle riding and bus travel – particularly for commuting trips.
Combine a bike ride with a bus ride to travel around the city – help the community to manage congestion, reduce energy consumption and pollution and make Canberra a cleaner, greener, better place to live today and into the future.
On this page is a summary of the ACT situation – use the links for full details:
- Carrying bikes on ACTION buses
- Fold-up bikes in ACTION buses
- Non-folded bikes in ACTION buses
- Bike racks on ACTION buses
- Using bike racks on ACTION buses
- Not all ACTION buses have bike racks
- Will the next bus to arrive have a bike rack?
- Bike, park and ride
- ACT public transport objectives
- ACT government promises to have bike racks on all buses
Carrying bikes on ACTION buses
Bikes can be carried on the bike racks on the front of an ACTION bus and folded bikes can be carries within an ACTION bus – subject to the ‘rules’.
Fold-up bikes can be carried inside ACTION buses, provided:
- Fold up bikes must be secured in the folded position prior to boarding the bus. Drivers are not required to wait while you fold and pack your bike.
- The bike is stored in the luggage rack or on the floor of the bus and does not pose a danger, inconvenience or obstruction to passengers.
- Drivers may refuse carriage of a fold-up bike if they deem it to be an inconvenience or danger to someone else.
- For safety reasons bus drivers are not able to assist with the carriage, loading or removal of a bike on or off the bus.
- A passenger that brings a bike onto a bus does so at their own risk. ACTION is not liable for any damage, wear or tear that occurs to a bike as the result of its carriage aboard a bus.
ACTION reviewed their requirement that ‘folding bikes must be in a bag’ and changed their policy in February 2016. This was following lobbying by Pedal Power ACT lobbied strongly that folded bikes were not dissimilar to prams and wheel chairs and should be allowed on buses without bags since 2013.
The rigid two-axle ACTION buses are fitted with bike racks on the front with the capacity to carry two bikes.
Note: There are no bike racks on some 20% of buses – articulated and tag steer rigid buses – despite previous promises from the government that all buses will have bike racks.
If you arrive at a bus stop there may are already two people with bikes waiting, or when the bus arrives it may not have a bike rack on it, or there are two bikes on the rack – then you just have to wait.
ACTION operates under a first in first served basis. No queue jumping please.
More details from ACTION about bike racks on ACTION buses.
Using bike racks on ACTION buses
Instructions on how to put you bike on a bike rack on an ACTION bus, and how to take it off are on the ACTION website.
You can put your bike on a bike rack on the front of a bus, provided:
- There is a spare space – only two bikes can be carried on any rack
- Your bike wheels are 20 inches (BMX size) or larger
- It is not a ‘motorised cycle’, tandem, tricycles, children’s bike (wheels less that 20 inches) or has a basket, flag or child seat
- If you can remover the child seat (and/or basket, panniers and flag) and take it into the bus, then you can load your bike on the bike rack on the front of a bus.
- ‘Motorised cycle’ is not clearly defined. Pedal Power ACT is working with ACTION to determine under what conditions an electric assist bike (pedalec) – classified as a pedal-cycle in the road rules – can be carried on the bike racks. It is likely to be restricted to a maximum weight governed by the load carrying rating of the racks. Electric assist bikes (pedalec) typically weigh between 20 kg and 30 kg.
Not all ACTION buses have bike racks
There are no bike racks on the longer ACTION buses – articulated and rear steer-tag axle rigid buses – and the ACT Government is still slowly investigating fitting racks to those buses – despite previous promises from the government that all buses will have bike racks. The ACTION bus fleet contains 57 articulated buses and 26 rear steer-tag rigid buses – that is 83 buses (20% of the fleet of 415 buses) that do not have bike racks fitted.
Will the next bus to arrive have a bike rack?
A real-time passenger information system for Canberra buses will be in place by the end of 2013 (according to statements from ACT Chief Minister).
The system, called NXTBUS, will track ACTION buses and provide live information about arrival times via digital displays at major bus stations and on the Internet (at bus stops, access via smart-phones and tablets).
The information will include how many minutes until the next bus arrives and whether it is equipped with a bike rack or is wheelchair accessible. However, you will not know if there is a spare place on the rack until the bus arrives and/or a passenger removes a bike.
‘Bike Park and Ride’ allows you to lock your bicycle in a bike cage, against a rail or in a locker and ride on a bus for the rest of your trip – or vice versa.
There is no charge to park your bike at a ‘bike > park > ride’ facility and get on a bus or to put you bike on a bike rack on a bus – you just pay the normal fare.
‘Bike > park > ride’ details:
- Bike locker and cage location map
- Bike locker and cage street map
- Getting access to bike cages and lockers
ACT public transport objectives
The public transport objectives of the ACT Government and ACTION are set out in the Transport for Canberra Plan 2012 – 2031.
Public transport network objectives
- A frequent public transport network supported by services, planning, infrastructure, land supply and location of facilities
- A public transport system that provides accessible mobility for everyone
- A public transport network that maximises choice, with excellent options like Park and Ride and Bike and Ride
- A public transport system that is ready for the future, with smart systems (real time passenger information, journey planners and accessible information) and smart fleet, including clean buses and active consideration of light rail.
Bike and ride facility expansion objectives
The ACT Government (and ACTION) will expand bike and ride facilities to encourage healthier and more active travel choices for Canberra commuters by allowing users to ride part of their journey by bicycle and travel the remainder of their journey by public transport. This will include:
- Continuing to install free bike racks on ACTION buses
- Continuing to focus on providing bike racks for rapid and frequent local services, subject to safety and operational requirements.
- Providing more free bike cages, bike lockers and bike rails at bus stops, bus stations and park and rides parks on the ‘rapid’ network.
ACT government promises to have bike racks on all buses
The ACT Government has made a number of statements (promises) to the effect that all ACTION buses in Canberra will have bike racks fitted. Here are some examples:
2007 – Minister for Transport John Hargraves:
‘Ultimately there will be bike racks on all buses.’
Ref: Hansard for 4 December 2007: http://www.hansard.act.gov.au/hansard/2007/week13/3825.htm page 38253
2008 – ABC news report of 15 August 2008 specifically says the same thing:
‘All ACTION buses will be fitted with bike racks.’
2009 – Chief Minister Jon Stanhope:
‘We are continuing the highly successful and highly used bike racks on buses initiative. All of ACTION’s new clean diesel buses will have bike racks, giving Canberrans greater sustainable transport options … To help meet this target, the government committed $49.5 million in the 2008-09 budget for a fleet replacement program to be rolled out over the next three financial years to acquire 100 new accessible buses. The introduction of the new MAN Euro 5 clean diesel bus brings the government close to that DDA target. In addition, the 74 low-floor buses are fully accessible and, as they roll out, will become a welcome addition to the fleet. And the 26 Scania steer tag buses also to be rolled out over the next two years as part of the fleet replacement program will be fully accessible low-floor buses.’
Note: Here Stanhope is saying that the bike rack intuitive will continue and refers to the forthcoming ‘steer tag buses’ (that subsequently were deemed too long for fitting bike racks!).
Ref: Hansard for Tuesday, 15 September 2009: http://www.hansard.act.gov.au/hansard/2009/pdfs/20090915.pdf page 3961
2009 – Chief Minister Jon Stanhope:
‘Use [of bikes on buses] is expected to grow as ACTION installs bike racks on all buses … ACTION will continue to fit bike racks on its buses. By 2011-12 it is proposed that ACTION’s fleet will all be fitted with bike racks.’
Ref: Select Committees on Estimates 2009 – 2010, in answer to question from Caroline Le Couteur http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/371358/Stanhope_TAMS_2009.pdf answers 11 and 14, page 29
2009 – ACTION representative at the ACT Assembly Select Estimates Committee:
‘… that ACTION intended to install bike racks on all buses’
Ref: Select Committee on Estimates 2009–2010,Appropriation Bill 2009–2010, June 2009, Volume 1 – Report http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/371403/Estimate09_Volume1and2.pdf paragraph 7.98 on page 123
2010 – Chief Minister Jon Stanhope:
‘All [ACTION] buses that can accommodate racks will be fitted by the end of 2012’.
Note: At the time of this statement, the only buses in the fleet that could not accommodate racks were the old orange articulated buses nearing the end of their service lives – the new longer buses had not yet arrived and there was no reason to believe that Stanhope was referring to any other model of bus other than the old articulated ones.
Ref: Select Committee on Estimates, Questions on Notice, Minister for Transport http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/371423/Stanhope_Transport_2010.pdf
2011 – Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Katie Gallagher:
‘All new replacement buses are able to be fitted with bike racks, however there will continue to be length restrictions for larger buses which will mean that bike racks will not be able to be fitted to these buses. The current tender requires that the engineering design of new buses is to allow for bike racks to be fitted. The requirement to have new buses engineered to accommodate bike racks will continue to be included as a requirement in all future bus replacement tenders.’
Note: That statement was made after the rear steer-tag axle buses debacle (the procurement of the rear tag-steer buses that were claimed to be too long to fit bike racks).
Ref: Standing Committee on Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services,Inquiry into 2010-11Annual Reports, Supplementary Questions http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/373670/PPWT_AR10_Answers_Supp_Quest_TAMS.pdf
2012 – Chief Minister and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Katie Gallagher, formally reneged on the undertakings to have bike racks on all buses in April 2012:
‘… 80% of ACTION buses will have bike racks fitted to to them by 30 June 2012.’
Note: It is the articulated and rear steer-tag axle buses that will not have racks and they are are frequently on the inter-town 300 routes where it is more likely that people will want to take bikes on buses!
Ref: Media release dated 18/04/2012 http://www.cmd.act.gov.au/open_government/inform/act_government_media_releases/gallagher/2012/action_delivers_more_buses_with_bike_racks
Last modified JW 22 January 2014