By Julian Bajkowski
The South Australian government has extended the utility of its public transport smartcard to give bike-riding commuters in Adelaide access to new locked cages so they can securely stow their mounts at railway stations when connecting with trains.
The move is part of a $17 million car park and amenity upgrade for the City of Churches that aims to better integrate public transport services with private transport modes to give commuters a bigger choice of journeys.
Being able to conveniently couple transport modes is a key factor in reducing congestion on roads and public transport because it widens the number of options available to commuters.
Secure bike parking facilities are a missing link in many transport plans because planners previously often overlooked the need to carry or stow bikes while catering for pedestrians and cars.
A major problem for cyclists is that newer or better quality bicycles that are left outside in the open are targeted by opportunistic thieves and vandals who pinch parts including wheels and seats.
Adelaide had previously used individually keyed bike lockers, a system that sometimes proved so secure that it was inaccessible.
Under Adelaide’s new secure bike cage scheme, cyclists wanting to access the new lock-ups will pay non-refundable $10 annual fee so that their Metrocard ticket can open the door.
Based on a contactless smartcard, the integrated transport ticket works in a similar way to electronic door passes that are commonly used to access offices and other secure areas.
“This government supports an integrated public transport system that provides a range of options to commuters,” South Australian Minister for Transport Service Chloë Fox said. “Having somewhere to secure and lock your bike provides commuters with an incentive to ride.”
The move has also put Adelaide’s smart transport ticketing ahead of larger cities like Melbourne and Sydney that have conspicuously struggled with similar implementations.
The South Australian government is also keen to know lots more about who is riding. Aside from the $10 access fee, cyclists will have to front photo ID and their Metrocard to pre-register with transport authorities.
While the SA Government has not said why it needs the identity of riders on file, it is likely that transport authorities will be able to use the data generated from the card terminals to map the frequency and destinations of commuters.
The photographic verification could also prove useful for cyclists who need to gain access to cages in the event they mislay their Metrocard but still want their bike back.
Ms Fox said the new smart cages will be deployed at Adelaide’s “most popular” stations including Gawler, Munno Parra, and Elizabeth train stations.
It will later be extended to interchanges for the O-Bahn – Adelaide’s unique guided busway network that runs conventional busses specially fitted guide-wheels over dedicated concrete tracks at speeds of up to 100 km/h.
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