Thursday, February 22, 2007

bikes on buses: good marketing or excessive luxury

Paul Dorn of bikecommutetips posted this pic in his post on intermodal travel.

While Paul claims that the upright position is an efficient use of space, note that two seats are folded up to make space for the bike. As a bus rider, this looks like one passenger taking up three seats. Accomodating bikes on buses is great, but if we had to stand in the aisle while a wet bike taking up two seats dripped on our pant leg, our sympathy for all-weather cyclists would fade fast.

On the other hand, as a bike commuter, we have to admit that in-bus parking does give us a slight case of transit envy.

We love the front-mounted bike racks on AATA buses. We've never had a problem using them or seen any damage to our bikes. Besides, it would be a pain in the rear to get a bike into the bus. Does any one else see a reason to move bikes inside the bus?


HomelessDave said...

It's not completely clear from the photo whether it's a bus or light rail, but rummaging around on the site for Sacramento Transit suggests that the photo depicts the inside of a light rail car, not a bus. It looks like Sacramento's buses are equipped with the front-mount racks just like AATA, with the proviso that you CAN bring a bike onto a bus, but only if the front racks are full and it's the last bus of the day.

But I wonder what the crucial factors are that make an inside-the-car solution for light rail better than front-mounted racks. Is it the safety issue of not wanting to promote the idea of people steppin onto the tracks in front of the train? Or is it the sheer capacity issue--on a five-car train, you'd want to offer more than two slots on the front?

Scott said...

thanks for digging this info up.

I'd bet that the length of light rail makes on-board cycle storage necessary in order to keep loading times reasonable and avoid (the fear of) running over people as they are loading their bikes.

When I lived in southern Germany, some trains had ski rack on the outside of the cars. One could easily drop the skis into a slot and they were secure for the trip to the mountain. I wonder if it's possible do do something similar with bikes. It would help free up space inside while still accomodating cyclists for the North-South rail line, on which the Mayor said bikes would be permitted.

Lady Jane Scarlett said...

I've seen the whole gamut where public buses don't have any bike racks (Montreal) to the light rail in San Jose where the bike racks are inside. I think that for light rails, a bike rack inside is absolutely better in terms of safety. But for buses, it's very nice to have the racks in the front.