Let's Make 'Cycle Park 'n' Ride' a Real Issue in the Coming SA Elections!

For the past 4 or 5 years the State Government has been slowly rolling out secure bike parking enclosures or ‘cages’ at selected rail stations and interchanges. These enclosures are accessed via Metro card (with a $10 annual surcharge) and offer much enhanced bicycle storage and personal security for commuting cyclists. So they are a valuable complement to bike parking ‘hoops’ and the blue bike lockers we’re all familiar with The problem is that:

  • there aren’t enough of them
  • the current design only accommodates 16 bikes and…
  • they are being rolled out extremely slowly !

The cages have been slowly appearing at select stations for a number of years. Currently their 11 locations are:

  • Adelaide Airport
  • Elizabeth Station
  • Gawler Station
  • Hallett Cove Beach Station
  • Klemzig Interchange
  • Mount Barker Dumas Street Park 'n' Ride
  • Noarlunga Interchange
  • Paradise Interchange
  • Seaford Station
  • Seaford Meadows Station
  • Tea Tree Plaza Interchange.

However there are on the Adelaide metro rail network as well as 27 public transport interchanges and of course all of the tram stops! While a little progress with installation of new cages seems to be made each year, annual funding for Car Park ‘n’ Ride facilities (for those driving to rail stations) vastly outweighs that allocated to Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride with 65% of rail stations still having:

  • no bike parking hoops
  • no secure cages
  • no bike lockers!

If this inequity continues then clearly we have a long, long way to go before the roll-out of these ‘smart cages’ (or other bike parking options) can start to make a real difference in encouraging commuters to step away from the car!

Based on its 2017 report, the Adelaide Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride Survey Group offers the following comments and observations:

  • ‘There are insufficient numbers of cages and hoops being installed to run an associated culture change program. Such a program would inform people of the existence of Cycle Park n Ride infrastructure how to access it, and its benefits. Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride sometimes remains under-utilised as a result with ensuing argument that ‘there isn't much demand for Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride, so why rush to install them across the network?’.
  • ‘Accessing Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride secure cages requires an annual trip to Adelaide Station to have your Adelaide Metro card programmed at a cost of $10. The cages cost $30,000 to install with space inside for 16 cycles. So one Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride place in a cage costs $1875. On average, a DPTI car park space in a Car Park ‘n’ Ride facility costs $10,000. Those who drive and use public transport are not required to register their Metro card (or travel into the central rail station to do so) and they pay nothing for the privilege of parking anyway. Yet the government and DPTI continue to roll out very expensive Car Park ‘n’ Ride places.‘

The Survey Group go on to propose ‘we feel that if there is to be no provision for people to register for Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride on-line or in widely distributed card-programming machines, an alternative strategy is needed. To get some modal shift away from driving and towards cycling, it makes good economic and political sense to pay people who cycle and want to access cages at least $10 per annum when they visit the station to have their Adelaide Metro card programmed! You can pay to get 1000 people using Cycle ‘n’ Ride for the cost of one DPTI installed car park. Good economics, very effective promotion and excellent goodwill!’

The reality of course is that even if 10 or even 20 additional cages appeared immediately after the next election, there would still be many tram stops and train stations without any secure Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride infrastructure. It seems that our Government just does not understand that bike security is just as important for cycling commuters as secure cark parking is for Car Park ‘n’ Ride users!

Compare their relative situations - apart from Emmerson Station, you can park a car for free at all trains stations and tram stops. There is nothing like this available for bicycle users! It is imperative that DPTI install at least 5 bike parking hoops at all bus and tram stops and train stations in one ‘big hit’ with appropriate public promotion. Huge efforts have been made to promote Park ‘n’ Ride for car drivers and next to nothing for Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride – it’s time this situation changed!

Over 2017-18 another $15 million has been allocated for Car Park ‘n’ Ride, adding to the $110 million already spent over the last few years. If the Weatherill government has any serious intentions for to their Carbon Neutral Adelaide policy or the revised 30 Year Plan, how about simply reallocating $5.5 of this Co2-generating car park money to boost Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride with an appropriate media and culture change program.

In a recent letter to Minister Mullighan, the Cycle Park ‘n’ Ride Survey Group made the following recommendations:

‘There is an additional $15 million in the 2017-2018 South Australian budget now for car Park n Ride (Budget Papers Page 24). $5.5million simply needs to be moved from car Park n Ride to Cycle Park n Ride. This is a simple project and will appeal to voters in electorates which have tram stops, train stations and Obahn interchanges’.

The Survey Group stated that ‘$5.5 million - according to the business case developed - will establish at least 5 hoops at all bus stops and rail stations and would cover current proposals for new cages as well as $500,000 for media and culture change programs.’

The Survey Group strongly recommends that all Bicycle User Groups and cycle advocates write to their local MPs demanding that this re-allocation occur as a matter of urgency.

Sam Powrie,

Secretary, PortBUG.


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I know it's just an anecdote, but when my wife (who rides a bike every 1-2 years typically) had to go to the city recently, she asked me if there was anywhere to lock a bike at our local station (it's about 2km away), as the car park is usually full after about 8am.  I said you could probably lock it to the railings (there's no parking other than lockers), so she drove. 

I think the ridiculously low cost of cycle hoops is well worth while if it gives potential cyclists somewhere to park that they know is there for the purpose.  It can also be used to keep cycle parking neat and tidy, and keep it in view of passers-by or CCTV.


I'd be keen to ask your wife why she only rides once every year or two. Is a hoop at the station going to change her mind? I'm guessing she's like my wife and has other reasons for not riding more often. Safety and fear of traffic being a major one.

Bill, your wife’s concern is valid and that’s why the Cycle Park n Ride Group proposed to the Minister that the program of installing bike parking includes a community awareness exercise and be done in collaboration with local governments who are responsible for safe cycle routes to stations. There are Councils waiting to be involved with DIPTI but there is no strategy in place to achieve this. We will keep pushing for it. A network of well signposted and lit bike lane, lighting and signage at stations and engagement of adjoining shops etc to provide informal surveillance are just some of the ways more will be encouraged to cycle to stations.

It's interesting to compare SA's 'accessing PT via car/bicycle' efforts to those in WA. WA - apart from being much further down the road (so as to speak) is notable in having a special position titled 'Manager of Cycling Integration'.

This position has been filled by Jim Krynen for the past 15ys (approx). Jim was appointed by Alannah MacTiernan (Labor Transport Minister I believe) to bring all aspects of bicycle use together and to ensure bikes were thoroughly integrated into WA's transport system at all levels of Government! Jim's role was (and maybe still is) quite influential as he reported directly to the Minister and functioned - more or less - at the same level as heads of departments! 

I've often thought that SA really needs a 'Manager of Cycling Integration'!

Despite 15 years of integration, you can't do there what I do every morning here: put my bike on the train on the way to work.

What that says to me is that Adelaide's train system is crap.

If our trains were as good as those in Perth, patronage would rise and we would have no choice but to ban bikes from peak services like most places around the world where trains are popular.

riding a bike round Perth is totally different to Adelaide, the distances between suburbs for one. In my youth l would ride from Warwick to Jolimont around the Herdsman Lakes, Only for the dedicated, or broke, (back in the day when Public transport never started before 1pm on Sundays). Adelaide, unless you live in the hills, one does not really "need" a car. Perth *needs* its trains, no one wants to ride from the city to Padbury.

Thanks Wendy. That's precisely why we can't let the pollies think that a once-off tokenistic gesture (like installing bike hoops) will do. As Peter and Sam point out, $19m goes a long way when you spend it on infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians, if its properly prioritised. By all means let them spend $19m on a mere 350 carparking spaces. But somebody has to pay for it! That works out at around $20 per car per day by the time we've paid to maintain and manage it over 20 years. The same thing for bikes would be around $1 per day.

The RAA’s NSW equivalent, the NRMA has recently published a report ‘The future of car ownership’. Here is a quote from it, which is repeated 4 times. I think the authors want to make the point.  The private motor vehicle has been an expensive convenience for many decades, but it now sits idle for 95 per cent of the time – it is an extremely lazy and inefficient asset(2017 p 6).

What the SA Labor Government and DPTI have done by rolling out more than 11 000 car parks at Adelaide’s stops and stations and a mere 201 hoops, is encourage thousands of South Australians to commit to a ‘lazy and inefficient asset’ which depreciates while at a car park in ride, having been driven to that location usually less than 3 kilometres. It’s clear many drivers would be able to rid themselves of a ‘lazy and inefficient asset’, (particularly a second one) and secure a bike at a hoop or cage, if cycle park n ride was firstly provided and then promoted.

BTW SA Labor’s $19 million could install 6330 hoops and secure 12 660 cycles or 48 additional hoops at every stop and stations. But that is not necessary - $5.5 million as in the business case will be sufficient.

I don't think it's helpful to attack park n ride itself. Every person who park n rides (as opposed to those who drive the whole way to work) is one less car on the main arterial roads, and one less car parked at their work place. Yes they drive, but mainly on roads which aren't especially busy, and not nearly as far as drive-only commuters.

And if it's "lazy and inefficient" to park n ride, most of us who cycle n ride are even more lazy and inefficient with our cars, because they sit at home all work day, depreciating. 

I'd rather present cycle park n ride as complementary to park n ride. Both should be encouraged, it's not either/or.

...which was probably why my focus tends towards the 'equity' issue Peter... Sam

In past years I have wondered why so much money and land used for carparking at O-Bahn stops. Authorities could put on think-caps to encourage people to ride 2 km to the stop. In Copenhagen longer distances are managed in business attire or skirts.


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