Tess Kalinowski of The Toronto Star claims that providing bike infrastructure through transit is expensive. GO Transit is putting in secured and sheltered parking throughout the system. The TTC is putting in bus bike racks on its entire fleet. The price comes out in the range of a couple thousand per spot. Tess gives some "shocking" numbers, but fails to put them in the context of the alternative - the cost of parking a bulky car:
$1,800 per cyclist using GO Transit's new secure bike lock-ups in Hamilton and Burlington, $3,700 per cyclist using GO's new bike shelters, and $1.44 million to put bike racks on about 1,600 TTC buses.
So all we know is that there is a long-term infrastructure cost of thousands of dollars. This a cost that is spread out over the lifetime of the parking. That comes to around $100 a year for some secure bike lock-ups that will surely last at least 15 years. So put in perspective it's not that much.
A GO customer can choose to arrive by car or by bike. Which mode do you think costs GO more? A car parking spot equals one GO customer as much as one bike parking spot does. Almost all Go parking is surface parking. It's impossible to come up with a definite cost of surface parking because it includes the land prices. If GO needs to expand its parking it will either have to purchase expensive land surrounding the prime real estate of its stations or it will have to build parking structures. Surface parking varies quite a bit, but we do know that the cost of structured parking can cost somewhere between $10,000 and $25,000 (according to the High Cost of Free Parking by Donald Shoup). Let's just say the cost of additional parking for GO could end up being as high as $25,000 per spot.
In this respect having a GO customer arrive by bike instead of by car represents big savings for GO. So do GO a favour and ignore unbalanced reporting like Tess'. Biking is cheap and saves everybody money when more of us shift our travel mode.