Category Archives: public transport

Bike and Train: Half the Pain

It’s the time of year when every weekend seems to fill up with endless Christmas parties. Other gatherings just add to the festivities, and the logistical nightmare if your friends have moved out to suburbs which are 30 or 40 kilometres from you!

waiting at the train station

On Saturday we had two gatherings to attend, one was 30ks away and the next one was 20ks from the first one – which was still 40ks from home! This would mean 90 kilometres of travel in one day. At the end we planned on parting ways, as I would go home, and Ms N would be going to yet another party!

As far as I saw it there were a few options –

1. Take the car, put a bike in the back, drive everywhere but I would ride home after the second gathering while Ms N could have the car.

2. Ride the whole way

3. Use the train system where possible – so from the city to the first party, then ride to the second party, then catch the train from there to the city again.

Ms N wasn’t keen on driving, and it was going to be pretty hot to do 90 kilometres, especially since I am not that fit at the moment!

Option 3 it was!

schwinn on train

I still rode about 50 kilometres in total: from home to the city; from the train station to gathering number one; from gathering number one to gathering number two; from gathering number two to the train station; and then from the city home.

The train rides were very pleasant – on the way out at 11.30am there were only a couple of others on the train, and on the way home at 8:20pm there were a lot of people dressed to the nines ready for their night out in the pubs and clubs of Northbridge. They were all well behaved. The ride in the middle of the day from gathering one to gathering two was hard, and hot, and we got lost (thanks, google maps), but all in all I think it was the best option, creating a much more memorable day.

The train rides cost about half as much as if we had taken the car, and we got a good amount of exercise as well. I’d like to think other people do this type of thing in Perth, instead of just taking the default option and picking up the car keys. Even though Perth’s public transport system has many black holes and gaps, you can fill them quite effectively with a bicycle.

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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in public transport


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Perth Cycling Infrastructure: Update, Maylands Station Lock n Ride (take 2)

I just got an email from Transperth stating that the smartrider reader on the Maylands Station Lock n Ride is now operational. I did spot some guys working on it earlier in the week – it looked like they had to pull up a bunch of pavers in order to lay the cables.

Anyway, here is the email:

Thankyou for registering to use Transperth’s new Lock n Ride Bike Shelter SmartRider access system.
The SmartRider access system for the Bike Shelter at Maylands Station will commence on Monday 24th October 2011.
Your SmartRider Card has been registered and will be your only means of access to the Bike Shelter from this date.  The gate to the shelter will be locked at all times, but you will be able to access the shelter throughout the day by following these steps:
  • Press the yellow button on the Bike Parking Machine
  • Tag your SmartRider on the card reader (illustrated below) 
  • Enter the Bike Shelter once the gate unlocks automatically
  • Park and lock your bike in the Bike Shelter using one of the u-rails – we recommend that you use a robust personal lock or chain to secure your bike to the u-rail
  • To exit the Bike Shelter, simply click the latch on the inside of the gate lock
  • Please ensure that the gate shuts and locks properly when you exit (a gate closer has been installed so this should happen automatically)
If you have any queries about this service, or about the use of bikes on Transperth services, please contact us by reply email, or visit…
I am looking forward to testing it out and seeing if it actually does work on the way home today. I saw a couple of bikes in it this morning – I wonder if the gate actually now being Smartrider enabled will mean more cyclists use it.

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Perth Cycling Infrastructure: Update, Maylands Station Lock n Ride

maylands lock n ride

Open wide, come inside

The fancy SmartRider access reader is still not operational, so they did the same thing they have done at many other stations – just propped the door open. I’d say about 60% of bike commuters at Maylands are using the cage, while the rest are still awkwardly locking their bikes to fences. I think the people still locking their bikes to the fence are scared they will come back and the cage will be locked. At least there are no more bikes parked on the wrong side of the fence jutting on to the path.

We are having a wet spring so far, so the bike numbers are not high. The most I have counted in the shed is 3 – and 2 chained to the fence that day. There are still some old bike lockers at this station as well (I think 6?) and these tend to fill up first as they offer the highest level of security for the bike and it’s components.

Giant TCR Advanced in Bike Cage

Whoa, someone left carbon in the bike cage.... oh wait.... that's mine


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Perth Cycling Infrastructure: Train Station Lock n Rides

Licence plate surveys have revealed some commuters drive less than 400m to park at crowded Perth train stations each morning, prompting calls for more to be done to encourage cycling and walking to work. The car parks are overflowing at all of these stations, and you can’t get a spot if you arrive after 8am in a lot of places.

Maylands Station

The lock-n-ride cage at Maylands Station

The Yahoo7 article is here, and is topical because the State Government is rolling out $50 million expansion of train station carparks, adding an extra 3000 bays along the Mandurah and Joondalup lines.Rail commuters cause tensions in our local neighbourhood too, parking in retail car spaces and taking up the bays that legitimate retail customers would use.

The article states that cycling advocates have been requesting secure lockers and showers at stations! I am not sure which cycling advocates they have been speaking to – but I am not sure a shower is necessary after a 400 metre ride to the train station!

Anyhow, one of the issues with train stations is the lack of secure bicycle parking. If you are going to leave your bike at any train station, it better be a cheap one, and you better be prepared to arrive back at your steed and find pieces missing. I parked my BMX on a station platform once, locked to the U-rails. I would not ordinarily ride to the station, but I had sprained my ankle, and I wasn’t up to walking there, so I rolled. When I got back from work and hobbled off the train, I discovered that someone had stolen the (quite nice) handlebar grips off my bike!

The Public Transport Authority is now starting to construct ‘Lock n Ride’ bike cages, which are accessed by a registered Smart Rider, and have U-rails inside to which the passengers secure their bikes. The smartrider registration process adds an extra level of security, and theoretically makes it harder for someone to casually steal components from your bicycles. The whole concept has been discussed here on the Australian Cycling Forums.

The PTA informed us that there were new cages planned for Midland, Maylands, Guildford, Bassendean and Bayswater, and that most would be built by the end of June 2011!

The problem is that the cages are being built, but not quite finished off. The lock-n-ride bike cage at Maylands has been put up and padlocked shut for at least a month. The machine that reads your smartrider to unlock the cage is there, but isn’t turned on.

Bike Friday outside the bike cage

My Bike Friday says, knock, knock.... let me in!

Bike commuters to Maylands Station are still stuck chaining their bikes to the fence. There is still no sign of the Bayswater cage being built, although I have heard that the Guildford and Midland ones are in the process of being constructed.

The other issue I have with this lock-n-ride system is that you can only sign up to access one cage on the train network, and your ‘sign up’ to the cage expires if it goes unused for a certain period of time. Only a certain number of passengers can sign up to use the bike cage. Time will tell if this is overly restrictive and will lead to less than optimum usage levels of the bike cage. They have to get the system working and remove the padlock first!


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Public Transport: What a day to catch a train (double murder in Maylands)

This morning I caught the train to work. It is an odd thing for me to do, I hardly ever catch the train and choose my bikes instead. As soon as I get to the platform I hear ‘services have been delayed’, and I notice police prowling around.

Every time the train stopped, more police were prowling the platforms, and some got onto the train, clearly looking for someone. It was creepy, and it was making me late.

Good to see that they arrested the suspect, and when I had a browse around the news sites I realised I was lucky to have gotten on a train at all, as early reports stated that all services on the train line had been suspended.

Everyone on the train seemed to be calm about being late, so I guess most of them knew more than me about what was going on. Probably reading the news on their smartphones.

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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in public transport


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