bike racks coming to the last remaining PAT buses

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caitlin
Participant
#

do we believe it when we see it?

Bike racks coming to 160 remaining Port Authority buses

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

By Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Port Authority by next fall will have bike racks on all of its buses.

An authority board committee today voted to accept a $32,500 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to complete financing of a $250,000 project to put racks on the 190 buses that don’t have them.

About 600 buses already have racks, but the absence of racks on the other vehicles created doubts among bicyclists.

“That’s the main complaint we hear from the bicycle community right now. You can’t rely on it,” said authority CEO Steve Bland.

The project was funded with $175,000 in federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funds and $42,500 from the state.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10321/1103954-455.stm#ixzz15YLX6Xxn


erok
Keymaster
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man you’re fast. here’s to hoping that the 100% doesn’t come sooner because they might just cut service


ejwme
Participant
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Waaaaiiiiit a minute….

Next fall.

Does this include the big long distance expresses that are _currently_ in their schedule, or only the buses that are scheduled to run next fall assuming no funding gets found?

this is a super huge difference. It means that I could get to my Cranberry job via bike and PAT, if they didn’t get rid of the Warrendale flyer. In fact, if they didn’t get rid of that flyer, and that flyer had a rack, I’d buy an annual pass and dump my car. assuming that the rack could withstand 25 miles of highway jostling…

so does that mean 100% of PAT vehicles, or 100% of the buses they think can handle racks? Any inside knowledge out there?


rsprake
Participant
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Cool. I would love to do an EBA bus/bike commute from Edgewood on the cold days this winter but as the article states, I can’t rely on it. Hope it happens sooner than later.


Swalfoort
Participant
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Not all buses can accommodate racks. The big suburban coaches generally can not accept them. Design issues to blame.

All buses that can accommodate racks will be outfitted.

That was confirmed for me in person by several separate Port Authority representatives.


ejwme
Participant
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GUH.

Hmm… So what’s to be done about getting bikes on the coaches? Heh… Not to tarnish your laurels ;) There are no design issues. Just imagination, motivation, or funding issues.

STILL this is awesome :D


erok
Keymaster
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The big suburban coaches generally can not accept them. Design issues to blame. we were told this for years, but the other day I saw one with a rack.


Steven
Participant
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That phrase “last remaining PAT buses” has an unfortunate ring to it, given the huge service cuts planned for March and June, with no rescue plan to prevent them in sight.

So perhaps no need to worry about the coaches. Those suburban routes are expensive to run. They might all be gone by next fall.


ejwme
Participant
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I care little for the coaches. I care about the routes they currently drive.

erok – details? imagination, motivation, and funding issues. no design issues.


scott
Keymaster
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Yes, Erok and I saw a suburban coach with a rack on the front.

http://bike-pgh.org/blog/2010/11/17/port-authority-to-complete-the-fleet-by-next-year/


erok
Keymaster
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i don’t know. for years we were told that those suburban buses can’t accept the racks. then like 3 days ago, one went by with a rack. i don’t know, maybe there are different companies making the buses


dwillen
Participant
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That video from TARC, wow. :)


Swalfoort
Participant
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Where’s Stu when you need him? He’ll have all the details.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Hmm. PAT’s shaping up. That’s good news.

Now maybe they can find a grant to educate their driver’s not to be such ass-hats.


sprite
Participant
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That will be nice. I average 1 rackless bus per day in a bad week of commuting… so with a normal bike multimodal commuting would be plain infeasible.


rsprake
Participant
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Are the suburban busses the ones that are almost more like Greyhounds? They have luggage areas above the seats right? We aren’t talking about the long articulated busses since a lot of those do have racks on them.


Boazo
Participant
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Don’t they also have big luggage bins out on the side of the bus ? I always wanted to put something in them… Seriously, why would PAT buy busses with big luggage areas they never use ?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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The 1900-series 45-foot coaches are what are used on the suburban routes like the 13K Warrendale Flyer and the P12 Holiday Park. Bus 1926 has a rack as an experiment. I have not heard how successful that experiment has been. The buses that I had previously heard would not get racks are the little ones (8600-series) that look like oversized milk trucks.

With the service cuts planned for March all but certain, I don’t know which actual buses are being taken off the road. Collier and Harmar Garages are being mothballed; they can handle the 45-footers, while Ross Garage cannot.

Now maybe they can find a grant to educate their drivers not to be such ass-hats.

In fact that is happening. At last night’s ACTC meeting, I was made aware of a driver retraining program for drivers for the proper handling of cyclists in traffic.

@boazo The buses themselves are identical to Greyhound coaches, and standard equipment is to have those bins. It would cost more money not to have them. The overhead bins are standard equipment, too, and on these, as well as the 1980 and 1984 purchases they replaced. Very handy, actually.


scott
Keymaster
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@stu I met with all the right folks at the Port Authority a few weeks ago about this. Very happy to see they’re taking the next steps!


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Let’s just hope that after they can 555 people in March that there will be any white collar staff left to actually accomplish anything.


Pseudacris
Participant
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At last night’s ACTC meeting, I was made aware of a driver retraining program for drivers for the proper handling of cyclists in traffic.

I’d love to see such retraining be a standard part of school bus driver licensing. Forbes outbound from Regent Square in the morning feels like the yellow wall of death at times.


ejwme
Participant
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Sigh.

I’ll have to take advantage of the commute options I’ve got while I’ve got them, then, and not wait for improvements that may never happen. One thing I’ve noticed, while none of the bussing options are terrific, if there are n options available, they are all tolerable for a period of time so long as I’ve only tried n-1.

I am my own masochistic wish – a suburbanite realizing that there is no fast way to daily traverse 30+ miles one way.

Good for PAT getting these racks, and the training. I’m glad they’re listening, and I’m glad Scott and Swalfoort et al are talking :D Thank you guys!


Erica
Participant
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This day can’t come soon enough. Today, every single 48 from 1:45 to 3:45 had no rack on it.

I don’t know if any after that did, I gave up and took the 51 instead. I hate the 51. if you had to take all the problems that come with PAT budget cuts and put them all in one place, you’d get a 51.


dbacklover
Participant
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Yeah the 51 isn’t my favorite bus to ride but the 77 isn’t any better. Almost always has a rack but is standing room only after first stop in town. Since I go to almost the end o the line it makes for a LONG ride. Still long ring ride better than no ride


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I was told, without having to ask first, that every bus will be equipped with a bike rack by July 31. That includes artics (bendy buses) and the humungo 45-footers.

Today I was told that the bike racks for the 45-footers for East Liberty Garage have arrived and are being installed, so you should start seeing Penn Hills and Monroeville express buses with them soon.


Pseudacris
Participant
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This is great news! Anyone who wants to practice using one of the bus racks before doing it on a “live bus” is welcome to come try one out at the Try A Bike Jamboree.

PAT is lending us a demonstration rack.

They’re pretty easy to use and a volunteer will be on hand to walk you through it if you want help.


erok
Keymaster
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YES!!!


reddan
Keymaster
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Not to be a Billy Buzzkill, but does this mean that there will be an explicit policy stating that all buses on all routes at all times will accept bikes? Without that, well, there’s still the un-retrained driver who grunts “No bikes on dis route…”


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Well, I hadn’t thought about that, and if every bus in the fleet has one, you wouldn’t think it should be necessary to say that, but, yeah, I guess I’d better ask.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Meanwhile, I was asked to pass this along: PLEASE use the slot nearest the driver if you are the first to load a bike. Later, if two bikes are on and the nearest-to-driver one is taken off first, it’s OK. Just that they’d prefer the rear slot be used first.


reddan
Keymaster
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you wouldn’t think it should be necessary to say that

I wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. Someone who just flat-out doesn’t like cyclists, on the other hand…


erok
Keymaster
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yeah, that’s the idea of having all buses.


rsprake
Participant
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This will be great to have reliable service. For me it was the difference between using the bus or not. One P1 (EBA) goes by without a rack and I could have biked there just as fast so I stopped trying.


sprite
Participant
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Heh, I just helped a guy rack his bike properly, instead of backwards and on the outer rack.


erok
Keymaster
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top!


erok
Keymaster
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top fer dis!

You’re invited to Transportation Exploration, an event celebrating sustainable transportation, on Friday, September 23 from 7:30 – 9:30 AM in Market Square. All are encouraged to bike, bus, carpool, or simply walk downtown to celebrate and show support for sustainable transportation. Our decision makers need to know that biking, walking, transit, and other transportation alternatives are worth investing in and prioritizing. Participating organizations will be on hand to answer commuters’ questions about how to get around Pittsburgh without defaulting to getting behind a wheel of a car for each and every trip.

The Port Authority will use the event to officially announce that their entire fleet, ie 100% of their buses are now outfitted with bus-mounted bike racks – a very important development for people who want to combine transportation options. A Port Authority bus will be parked in Market Square to allow people to practice racking their bikes. The crowd will be welcomed and addressed by BikePGH Executive Director Scott Bricker, Port Authority CEO Steve Bland, GBA Director of Innovation, Aurora Sharrard, and others.

Immediately following the speakers, all attendees are strongly encouraged to join a group photo to show the Pittsburgh region’s support of this worldwide effort to go beyond fossil fuels, so please show up and be counted. “Pittsburgh Climate Initiative is elated to be able to co-sponsor Transportation Exploration with Pittsburgh region organizations that work to increase and make information available about transportation options that save people money and reduce air pollution. This regional collaboration is elevating the discourse about air emissions and providing viable alternatives for commuters,” said Aurora Sharrard, Director of Innovation of Green Building Alliance, the convening organization of the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative.

A Port Authority bus will be parked in Market Square to allow people to practice racking their bikes, and attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about commuting options with CommuteInfo, a program of Southwest PA Commission. BikePGH and Zipcar will also make available bike commuting and car sharing resources.

Transportation Exploration is a part of Moving Planet Day, an international campaign by 350.org to promote sustainable transportation options. Numerous events worldwide will raise awareness for sustainable transportation and help the planet to “move beyond fossil fuels”.

This event is co-sponsored by Pittsburgh Climate Initiative, BikePGH, Southwest Pennsylvania Commission, Port Authority of Allegheny County, the Mattress Factory, and Group Against Smog and Pollution.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Yaaay! Just an update, there are a scant few (like maybe 10) of the oldest 1996-model buses that still do not have racks. Their inspections are up in just a couple months, after which they will be scrapped.

That, and there are a very few newer buses that don’t have racks for one reason or another, I don’t know why. Probably a rebuild after an accident and something’s too bent to attach the rack to, but not so bad they can’t use the bus anymore. But all told, it’s pretty darn close to 100% of the fleet.

New buses are arriving daily, the 5800s and 3-door artics, the 3200s. All have racks.

EDIT: I encountered my first case of being the second bike on a rack the other day. In McCandless, inbound! There are only about five stops upstream of me on the O12.


erok
Keymaster
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sprite
Participant
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Cool! Ironically I’m on one of the last rackless dinosaurs right now (bring on the inspection meteor event…)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Boring Pittsburgh had me run through the loading of bikes on bus racks! Video here!

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