Monday, June 23, 2008

Biking on the Bus

I’m Tina. I work at Capital Metro in government relations. A few months ago, I started biking to work a few times a week. I have definitely noticed more people biking around town and I have definitely, as just a regular citizen but also as a Capital Metro employee, noticed more cyclists boarding our buses. (We are getting more questions about bikes on buses lately.)

Just to let you know, all of our buses have the capacity to carry two bikes, except the ‘Dillos. We can store two bikes in the rack on the front of most buses except for the Express coach buses, which allow storage of two bikes in the luggage compartment. (If you have never used the racks, they are really easy. If intimidated, just ask the driver.)

Unfortunately, once the bike rack is full, there is no additional room on the bus for bicycles. We have to give priority to passengers without pedals. (Makes sense, yes?) Although it has not been common, riders should be prepared for the possibility that the bike racks on their buses will be full. So, as much as we'd love to tote everyone and their bikes around town, there are limits, so please plan accordingly. (Hey, look at it as strength-training. Miss the bus? Pedal faster. Just kidding. I know we all want to take our bikes on the bus but c'est la vie in a bike-ridin' town.)

Many other transit systems offer bike racks and all of us are experiencing an increase in bicyclists on the bus. Capital Metro did look at bigger bike racks but unfortunately they present some safety hazards. The larger bike racks that carry 3 bikes are wide and can potentially block visibility of turn signals and headlights. (This is a problem not just because we say it is but because we also have to meet certain federal safety standards.) There are also reports of bikes falling off of the three capacity bike racks in other cities. While we would like to have bigger bike racks, the current designs simply aren't safe enough. But we continue to investigate bike racks on future bus purchases and we always keep an eye out for better bike rack technology to accommodate more bikes. Let us know if you know of anything!

Bus, bike, walk, drive (sometimes it happens). I challenge you to do what you can, even if only once a week!