Beat the Heat with LYNX

Yes, it’s true. The LYNX buses are air conditioned. Very well air conditioned as many riders often bring a wrap or sweater to keep the chill off, especially after waiting in the heat for the bus to come.

But how does this relate to commuting by bike? Well, just like walking, everyone commutes. One way to shorten the miles or add a leg that avoids having to ride on one of those safe, but unappealing roads is to take the bus. Since there are racks on the buses, your bike can travel with you safely and securely. Currently, the racks can only accommodate two bikes but there are three bike models out and maybe one day LYNX will begin replacing some racks with the three rack models.

Better yet, on June 18th you can ride LYNX for free all day. Just print out this coupon and show it to the operator.

Dump the Pump Coupon

Dump the Pump Coupon

Not sure which routes are available to you and where they go? You can use LYNX’s trip planner to plan out your route. Also, LYNX system maps and Planners (spiral bound books with detailed route maps and arrival/departure times) are available for free at Lynx Central Station. Regular one way fare is $2  and transfers are free. Be sure to tell the driver you’ll need a transfer if you need one. All day bus passes cost $4.50, 7-day passes are $16 and 30-day passes are $50.  Seniors 65+ and the disabled can ride for half price and the blind can ride for free.

Some tips for riding the bus:

  • Make sure you wait by the stop, they’re easy to find, they’re big pink paw prints with the Link # (ie bus number) on the bottom of the sign.
  • If there are multiple links served by that bus, it’s sometimes customary to wave them off if they’re not the link you need.
  • Pull down the bike rack on the front of the bus if it’s in the stowaway position. Squeeze the release handle and lower the rack.
  • Lift your bike onto the rack, putting the front wheel where indicated on the rack. The first bike in the rack should be loaded in the position furthest away from the bus.
  • Pull the support arm over the front tire as close to the frame as possible. The support arm should rest securely on the tire only, not the frame.
  • Board the bus and pay your fare, sit as close to the front as possible.
  • Have exact fare, drivers can’t make change.
  • Pull the stop cord a few blocks before your destination so the driver has time to stop. Also, exit the front of the bus and let the driver know you have a bike.
  • Lift the support arm from the bike’s tire and lower it to the magnet on the rack.
  • Lift your bike off the rack. If the rack is empty, raise the rack up against the bus.

It should take all of 10 seconds to load or unload your bike. Some LYNX routes have 30 minute headways (time between buses), others are 1 hour. Still, some of the busiest routes have 15 minute headways. For areas served by multiple routes the headways can be even shorter. Major corridors are Orange Ave, Orange Blossom Trail, Colonial/SR50, Silver Star Road, University Blvd, Semoran/SR 436, etc. So, take a ride on LYNX sometime. Stay cool on a hot day, get out of the rain in the afternoon, arrive at work cool and refreshed, or just enjoy the ride.

Here’s a short video on how to use a rack. While the rider places their bike in the position closest to the bus, it’s better to place the bike in the position farthest from the bus as a general rule, but people generally figure it all out.


12 replies
  1. 2whls3spds
    2whls3spds says:

    Dunno if we will ever see 3 bike racks. The few cities that tried them had a lot of problems with them and went back to the 2 bike rack. I used them a fair bit in Charleston, SC. Only problem…plenty of other people do to, so quite often I had to make the choice to wait for the next bus or just keep on riding. The good news is that the option exists.


  2. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    Nicely done, and summerizes all of the questions that I had about how to use Lynx with my bike. Thanks!!

    I’m noticing more and more bikes in the racks — would there ever be an option to install more bike rack space on the busses (kinda what Aaron was alluding to) — maybe a rack on the back of the bus?

  3. Laura
    Laura says:

    That is becoming more of a problem as people become familiar with using the racks. I’m not aware of racks inside buses nut they do exist on trains and light rail. Some transit agencies allow foldable bikes in buses. It’s definitely worth looking into.

  4. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    According to Doug Jamison (also at Lynx) folding bikes are permitted on-board provided they have smaller wheels (20 inches or less) and fold up compactly enough as to not be a problem for other passengers.

    I think that’s the ultimate bike-bus solution.

  5. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    I’m mildly curious about the recommendation to place the bike in the outer slot. If I’m the first user, I always place my bike in the inner slot. This is because it is then very difficult for the next user to put his bike in the inner slot if mine is already in the outer slot.

    And having only two bikes per bus is grossly inadequate. Even on routes where the bus headway is five minutes or less, I’ll sometimes travel multi-modally on the subway and regional trains, but on the bus I’m opportunistic. I’ll only on the bus if one happens to be coming along with a spot free on the rack and if I’m going far enough to justify to myself the cost of the fare.

  6. P.M. Summer
    P.M. Summer says:


    I’d be curious to know just where in Toronto 5-minute headway bus service with two slot bike-racks is grossly inadequate. This would be very useful information in my attempts to improve multi-split-mode transit usage.

    Is it just for a few select routes, or is this shortage a system-wide problem? Is this consistent throughout the day, or only during peak service periods? To what do you attribute this phenomenally high usage, and why is TTC not installing more 3-bike racks to accommodate demand? Will the extra slot on a 5-minute headway reduce the service to merely inadequate, or will it solve the problem? What capacity do you recommend, and do you think this is transferable?

    Thanks in advance!

    Seriously, this would be great information, as Toronto seems to have discovered a way to encourage bus-bike rack usage that dramatically exceeds the rates for other transit agencies.

  7. P.M. Summer
    P.M. Summer says:


    Great post! Buses with well designed bike racks can have a great impact on getting people to utilize transit. Not emphasized enough in Southern climes is the ability to ride your bike to the bus in the early morning in your casual-work attire (a mile or so), without having to change clothes when you get to work.

    This makes using a bicycle for commuting a much less daunting prospect to many people, and significantly expands the service area of a bus line from a 1/4 mile envelope to a full mile.

    It’s a great feature!

  8. Laura
    Laura says:

    Thanks P.M. Summer. You raise an excellent point about being able to use the bus in the mornings. Even on my short walk in the morning and 5 minute wait for the bus I’ve been getting a bit ‘misty’ and it’s only JUNE here.

    In Orlando we’re happy to get a 20 minute headway on some routes and with combined routes we get a bit better than that, but only near superstops and our Central Station. The ability to bike to a bus stop here greatly expands our service to the community in such a sprawling area. LYNX’s service area is 2500 sq miles, one of the largest in the US, but we’re a small to medium sized bus system fleet-wise.

    As far as the outer slot, I’m not completely certain, but I believe it’s for visibility for the bus driver and the thinking that the first one on will likely be the first one off? I don’t think it’s a huge issue and the drivers aren’t likely to tell someone to switch slots.

  9. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    P.M. Summer asked a few questions:

    “Is it just for a few select routes, or is this shortage a system-wide problem?”

    My knowledge is best of the Eglinton bus route. This is one of the busiest lines, with frequent service during peak periods. For more details, see here:

    I see that this is currently showing service every 1-3 minutes, which seems about right.

    Demand for bike racks frequently exceeds supply. I speculate that this has not discouraged people entirely because of the frequent service. In other words, busses come often enough that waiting for the next one is not a big deal. But I repeat that this is pure speculation based upon my own experience. In other words, I am willing to wait and I’m guessing some other people are also.

    I also believe that a large number of people are discouraged from taking their bikes on the system because of:

    1) Their inability to rely upon a bike rack slot being available.
    2) The inability to transfer the bike onto the subway during peak hours.

    “Is this consistent throughout the day, or only during peak service periods?”

    It is much worse during off peak periods. 6:30-9:30 AM and 3:30-6:30 PM are the official peak periods. Outside of that time, bicycles are allowed on the subway. This attracts a lot more bikes onto the system.

    “To what do you attribute this phenomenally high usage”

    To me it doesn’t seem all that high. There is a seven percent bike mode share in Toronto. Only two bikes on a bus that is carrying 75 people is a three percent share. Seems low to me.

    “why is TTC not installing more 3-bike racks to accommodate demand?”

    There was some difficulty with the 2-bike racks fitting the busses into their storage areas. These had been built by the lowest bidder to just fit the existing busses. Adding a bit onto the front caused problems.

    “Will the extra slot on a 5-minute headway reduce the service to merely inadequate, or will it solve the problem?”

    For me, personally, no. I want to be able to go out with my three children, ages 7, 10 and 12. This requires four slots. I presume that ours is not the only family that this causes a problem for.

    “What capacity do you recommend, and do you think this is transferable?”

    For my family, we need four slots. This assumes that nobody else is using one. Not a good assumption.

    By “transferable” I presume you mean “scalable.” And I don’t think that it is. None of the Dutch and Danish municipal bus systems that I saw allowed any form of bike transport (except folding bikes). I presume that they simply did not have the capacity to meet overwhelming demand – so they didn’t try. What many people do is park their bikes at bus stops.

    In my opinion, what would be much more useful is secure parking at TTC stations. The TTC is installing a pilot project at Victoria Park station. This is following best practices in The Netherlands. Bike racks on busses is not.

  10. Eric
    Eric says:

    “None of the Dutch and Danish municipal bus systems that I saw allowed any form of bike transport (except folding bikes). I presume that they simply did not have the capacity to meet overwhelming demand – so they didn’t try. What many people do is park their bikes at bus stops.”

    Gee. No kidding. We try, over and over, to tell you that people there don’t like to cycle over 2-3 miles, but you seem not to understand or believe it.

    It’s not that the bus/trams couldn’t handle bike transport, it’s that for longer distances than 2-3 miles, bikes are not the transport of choice. People either drive the longer distances or they take the bus/tram or train.

    If they are particularly green, they either have bikes at both ends of their work commute, or they carry a folder. But MOST people don’t bother since they aren’t anti-car nuts like you are.

    They realize that there is a time and a place for cars and a time and a place for bikes and a time and a place for trains. So even if they own a car, if they need to go somewhere to work about 200 miles away and stay for a week, they might take the train since it would be cheaper and easier.

    That’s something you didn’t learn over there.

  11. Rick
    Rick says:

    Tried this today. Going to work from the Lake Como area was not too bad. I catch the 51 to the downtown station and then the 102 over to the hospital where I work. I rode my bike to the bus stop and was picked up as expected at 7:05. Made it downtown by 7:20 and to work by 7:35. I can make it in 10 minutes less just on the bike! Still, not bad. On the way home it was another story. Got picked up from work on time, but was stuck waiting at the downtown station for 40 minutes. Total commute time 1 hour and 10 minutes!!!! I almost got tired of waiting and biked home. Love the bike racks. Very easy to use. All in all, I don’t think it’s a service I’ll be using.

  12. Eric
    Eric says:

    “Very easy to use. All in all, I don’t think it’s a service I’ll be using.”

    Depending on how much effort you want to expend that day, taking the bus to work sounds like it makes sense. Ten minutes longer I think would be worth it esp. if it was raining. Ride home on the bike.

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