40,000+ U.S. Buses Are Equipped With Bike Racks. None in NYC.

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Via the National Center for Bicycling & Walking’s Centerlines Newsletter, the National Center for Transit Research reports:

"Over 40,000 buses at more than 300 transit agencies in the U.S. are equipped with bike racks, and an estimated 670,000 bikes-on-transit trips are provided each month…


Photo: brandonzwa/Flickr

  • I’ve used the bike racks on the buses in Chicago extensively, but I’ve not been too bothered by their absence in New York, since the subway takes you within a 15 minute ride of most of the city. The only time I’ve wanted to put my bike on a bus is when I’ve gotten flat tires far from home. But even then, I’ve been more than a 15-20 walk from a subway. (Chalk that up to not riding a lot in eastern Queens or Staten Island).

  • who cares

    With you Neil. Subways better. When no subway around it’s much faster and easier to grab a livery cab. Maybe if buses were faster it would make sense to do bike to bus trips. Nationally that’s not so good – 40,000 buses carrying 670,000 bikes a month is 17 bike trips per bus rack per month. Assuming 30 day months, you get slightly more than one bike trip every two days. Even correcting for seasonal cycling, it’s still not much. Maybe money would be better spent on other biking improvements.

  • Good points. I imagine bus bike racks would be most useful on the more long-haul bus routes from the Outer boroughs into Manhattan rather than within Manhattan itself.

  • AD

    Actually, I think these would be perfect for the local buses in the outer boroughs are are circumferential to Manhattan. Take the B7 in medium-density Brooklyn. It travels from Midwood to Brownsville via Kings Highway, parallel to no subway routes.

  • Also, these work best on less crowded lines. The last thing you want is to get out the back of the bus and watch it and your bike drive away. You have to be able to alert the driver somehow that you need to get your bike before they step on the gas.

  • crzwdjk

    There is one place where bike racks are an absolute MUST: on bridges where pedestrians and bicycles are prohibited, but which have a bus line running over them. This includes the Q44 and QBx1 over the Whitestone and S53 and S79 over the Verrazano. Because the current shortest bike route from Bay Ridge to Staten Island is via Fort Lee.

  • P

    I have mixed feelings too. I totally support the bridge crossings and other outerborough routes but when the subways are available it makes no sense to force 60 bus riders to wait for the cyclist to get off the bus and dig out his bike from under the pile before the bus can move on.

  • crzwdjk

    I don’t think delays will be a problem. For one thing, it takes only a few seconds to retrieve the bike from the rack, certainly less time than it takes 10 people to board a bus. Secondly, San Francisco has racks on all its buses, and I haven’t seen any major problems or delays because of it. Finally, when buses run at an average speed of 7 mph, even a very out of shape cyclist can go faster. So cyclists will end up taking the bus only when their bike is broken or they can’t bike for some reason. Even so, racks on buses would be very useful in providing a backup option for just those cases, and encourage people to bike more.

  • Q.R.

    re crzwdjk: As I recall, either the QBx1 or the Q44 (I forget) allows you to take your bike on the Whitestone. It’s written on the Queens bus map.

  • crzwdjk

    The map does indeed claim that you can take your bus on the QBx1, however I am not sure whether this is actually the case. The only time I took that bus, it did not have any racks on it, and I suspect that the claim is just that. I’d be interested in hearing from people who have taken their bikes on the bus across the bridge though.

  • P

    Maybe you have to hold your bike out the window as you cross the bridge…

  • JB

    In Philadelphia we have had bike racks on buses since 2000. Using the bike rack does not delay the bus nor is bike theft a problem.

    Placing racks on select routes is a problem. Buses are moved or taken out of service and transit personnel would rather not deal with logistics of ensuring that a rack is on every bus. I think that is what happened on the QBx1.

    The only way to guarantee reliable bike on bus service is to equip the entire fleet.

  • MD

    I’d like to see a rack on the trolley bus that goes from Crown Heights to Prospect Park. It would be a great way for families with bikes to get to the park when they don’t live so close.

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