my other bike is a port authority bus
so, i had this idea, and i am looking for some thoughts:
i think that the port authority should start selling stickers, t-shirts and etc. that say “my other bike is a port authority bus.” the proceeds can go towards getting more bike racks on buses, educating drivers on not running cyclists over, or whatever else cycling related.
Somebody’s been writing letters to the editor…
ha! glad someone reads those things. actually, i didn’t even know it ran yesterday. brian from the brillobox told me last night at pub quiz.
everyone, just keep in the front of your mind “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” keep calling their complaint line and asking for more bike facilities. review their TDP first and then comment by using this form: http://tdp.portauthority.org/paac/SystemDesignConcepts/CommentsForm/tabid/491/Default.aspx
It’s not good enough to make the Port Authority aware of the problem. They’re aware. We need them to PRIORITIZE this. If it’s not prioritized, then it will be 3-5 years before the system is outfitted with racks. We should have a goal of having the system complete in 1 year.
Anyway, just telling you folks things you already know. A bike advocacy org staff can only do so much. Sure we represent a lot of cyclists, but those cyclists have to pipe up on their own or else our advocacy is ineffective.
(True confession: I haven’t commented to Port Authority yet, but I plan to later today. Honest.)
One of Port Authority’s highest priorities is increasing ridership. Try to tell them why racks on buses (or safe places to lock your bike at transit centers, or bikes on the T at rush hour, or whatever) will make you more likely to use their service.
If bike racks are a “nice to have, won’t we look cool” item, they won’t do it. If bike racks bring in customers, they’ll do it.
i think i said something in my comments to the effect of “i often try to use the service (ie give you money) but due to the current arrangement, i cannot
I was a little surprised by some of the comments to BikePGH’s open letter in the PG the other day….but maybe I shouldn’t be: http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/openletters/archive/2009/06/24/multimodal-transit.aspx#comments
There’s the current problem of more buses than racks, there’s the short-term problem of inadequate funding to close that gap (like getting 30 fewer new buses next year than they wanted to), but there’s the longer term problem of adding all the infrastructure, new rules, training, etc., to make the transit system truly usable for us multi-modal people.
The current problem is simple: Complain. If a non-rack goes out on a rack route, someone screwed up. That won’t change without us complaining.
The long-term problem is tougher. We need to get the Suits to alter their thinking. I’d like to see them add enough racks that we can tie up 100 bikes at each big park-and-ride, and 2-4 at every bus shelter, whether owned by them or an ad company.
Some of the editorial comments raise valid points. Is anyone tracking usage of the racks? I know the Port Authority web site had a Rack and Roll advertisement for a while, but I rarely hit their web site before Google transit came online and I haven’t been back since. I usually get a surprised look when I say that you can take a bike on the bus and I can easily see the constantly folded up rack on the front of the bus not being recognized for what it is. Can they stick a sign on the folded rack or front of the bus that says something along the lines of “bikes ride for free?”
I might use the racks on rainy days to get home but my route doesn’t have them.
Comments like this crack me up though, it completely ignores the possibility of waiting 20 minutes only to find out there is no rack on the bus!
“Most PAT buses have been equipped with bike racks for several years. However, I have yet to see a bike mounted on one.
PAT has done it’s part. It is the bikers, who seemingly are unaware that this service already exists.”
I think there are some structural problems with bike racks.
One is this- Suppose PAT becomes conscientious about having bike racks on buses and the racks become somewhat popular, the availabilty of racks for any given rider will still be unreliable.
There’s room for how many bikes? Two? Three? There will be full buses.
One of the comments on Scott’s letter is about time involved loading an unloading. This is a valid concern.
Suppose you have mulitiple bikes coming and going at different stops. How much time packing and repacking will this take? What if the first bike on is the first bike off?
Anyone who buses regularly knows the frustration of waiting for a bus worrying about being on time, having a bus come and thinking “Yeah! It will work!” Only to have the bus delayed along the route.
A few bikes could lead to a bus full of frustrated people.
Not wanting to be negative about this or anything. Just strikes me as problems athat are particular to this mode.
Complaining about delays? These folks can pound salt. The probability of a “delay” from the boarding and deboarding of a handicapped individual is greater than that of a bicyclist. And with bikers you don’t have to give up your seat…
Any additional delays are due to the route structure (which apparently is being fixed by the transit study) and the same traffic delays anyone commuting in a personal vehicle would encounter.
I always saw more bikes on the COTA buses (Columbus) than I do here….I think that one reason may be that COTA covers much less area than PAT does, hence the need for a bike to get around. Also, COTA was fairly on time, but didn’t have so many stops (I think? it’s been awhile….) and also had lower ridership. COTA has the two bike bike racks. Check it out here: http://www.cota.com/bike_n_bus.asp
I think as part of the stop-reducing, route-revamping plan PAT’s doing, figuring out the logistics of the racks would be a good way to get bikes integrated with the bus routes/T routes to help folks get around, despite the changes in service and stops. I know I’m lifting that idea from someone else, but it just makes sense.
one of the things that’s crazy to me about the port authority is how behind the times they are. here’s some language in the new climate bill that apparently just passed:
Sec. 5319: Bicycle Facilities
A project to provide access for bicycles to public transportation facilities, to provide shelters and parking facilities for bicycles in or around public transportation facilities, or to install equipment for transporting bicycles on public transportation vehicles
now is the chance during the tdp for them to incorporate these changes, yet they’re most likely going to be playing catch up…again…to the rest of the country.
oh, and here’s the article that explains more: http://bikeportland.org/2009/06/24/us-climate-bill-would-help-fund-bike-projects/
Greenbike, you see more people using COTA buses with bike racks because there’s no guesswork. They most likely have a bike rack on every bus. I don’t know of a single other transit agency that only has certain routes covered instead of the entire system.
I see more and more people using the racks locally, but until we can depend on the service and take all the guesswork out of it we won’t see large numbers of users.
It would be cool if the PAT trip planner, or the Google one, would also incorporate a “maximum bike distance”. So I could say, I want to get to work on Banksville Road, and I’m willing to bike 3 miles, and get a list of routes that fit. Guess I’ll go make that suggestion to Google.
hmmm..that’s something i didn’t think about if they ever get the “bike there” option. i suppose we need to wait until the trails are incorporated into the maps
erok! You’ve astounded me! Why do we need to wait until the trails are incorporated? Is there something wrong with bicycling on the road?
ha, nothing wrong with bicycling on the road. i just don’t think that google will do it until the trails get on their data. the data exists, they just have to do what they do. it would just really suck if you live in greenfield, and ask google how to ride to downtown, and it tells you to take second ave the whole way.
Well, they already have “walking directions” that don’t include trails. Since they already incorporate walking distance/time into their bus routing, I think it should be pretty easy to do what Lyle suggested – just a tweak to speed and/or max distance compared to walking. I’d definitely like to see that even if it doesn’t include trails.
it can’t be that hard for them to add the trail data. they’re google.
Good news! The new bike racks are starting to appear.
They said they’d be doing the 35-foot buses first, and that seems to be true. I have been actively looking for a 35-foot bus WITHOUT a bike rack, and have not seen a single one. That’d be your 1500-series buses, such as they use on 41E Mt Washington and 6A Troy Hill. It wasn’t too long ago I watched four rack-less 35s in a row go by.
The higher the number, the newer the bus. Every 5600-series and 5500-series has racks. I’ve seen a few 5400-series without, but very few.
I’m told Bus 2600 has a three-bike rack, the only one in the system. It’s the oldest bus in the system, so that might’ve been an experiment.
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