MTA: Bike Racks Are Coming to Buses Over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

As of September 6, New York will no longer be the only major American city without bike racks on its buses. The MTA announced this afternoon that it is launching a one-year pilot of front-mounted bike racks on the S53 and S93 routes, which run across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

“Before this program, our customers had no direct way to travel with their bicycles on public transportation between Brooklyn and Staten Island. Now customers can take advantage of the city’s bike lanes and greenways without worrying about how to transport their bicycles,” Darryl C. Irick, Senior Vice President of Buses at MTA New York City Transit, said in a press release. “A future expansion will depend on results of this pilot and will most likely focus on routes that cross bridges.”

Adding bike racks on buses has been a goal of advocates who view it as a stepping stone to building a bicycle and pedestrian path on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Update 9:55 p.m.: “We are certain Bike & Ride will be a success, just as similar programs have been in cities all over the country that have long had bike racks as standard equipment across their vehicular fleets,” said the Harbor Ring, a coalition of path advocates, in a statement. “However, one bus carrying two bicycles is by no means a solution for our city’s overwhelming transportation deficiencies. We continue our campaign urging the MTA to create separated bicycle and pedestrian pathways across the Verrazano Bridge that would offer toll-free connectivity between Brooklyn and Staten Island.”

“This is an exciting first step in bringing New York in line with many other cities when it comes to putting bike racks on buses,” said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who first indicated last November that bus bike racks would be coming to New York.

The announcement comes after reports surfaced in March that the MTA had tested bike racks on the S53 line, which carries an average 10,100 customers every weekday, making it the second busiest bus route on Staten Island.

The MTA has purchased 38 bike racks at a cost of $42,000 and is testing three different models on 31 buses. The agency says it will soon post an instructional video on how to use the new bike racks. While we wait for the MTA’s video, Streetsblog suggests this classic from Louisville, Kentucky.

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