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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-03-08, 02:32 PM   #1
Roody
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Bike racks on buses are stupid

You have to go to the front of the bus, pull the rack down, hoist your bike up, unsecure and secure the hook, and go back to the door of the bus. On the way out, you do all that again, plus tell the driver, and you're forced to leave by the front door of the bus. They only hold two bikes, and a lot of the time they're full and you have to wati for the next bus.

There has to be a better way! Any ideas?
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Old 01-03-08, 02:41 PM   #2
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You have to go to the front of the bus, pull the rack down, hoist your bike up, unsecure and secure the hook, and go back to the door of the bus. On the way out, you do all that again, plus tell the driver, and you're forced to leave by the front door of the bus. They only hold two bikes, and a lot of the time they're full and you have to wati for the next bus.

There has to be a better way! Any ideas?
More/better bike lanes??

We have those racks here, but I have never used them. I would think they would be best put to use if you need to get some place where you don't have a good safe route.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:14 PM   #3
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I used to use them all the time when I was in school. Once you get the hang of them, they're pretty easy and fast to use.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:17 PM   #4
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I think they work pretty well, except for the fact that most of the buses on routes I have seen are unable to compete with the speed of a bicycle.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:22 PM   #5
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first

people complain that there is no way to carry a bike on a bus

so, they spend thousands and equip busses with racks

and yet, people still find the time to complain

STFU, jackass

[edit: I was gonna delete the jk comment, but he quoted me below...so...I'll keep it and deal with the repercussions]


yeah there is a better way. ride your bike the whole distance, or walk

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Old 01-03-08, 03:28 PM   #6
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first

people complain that there is no way to carry a bike on a bus

so, they spend thousands and equip busses with racks

and yet, people still find the time to complain

STFU, jackass


yeah there is a better way. ride your bike the whole distance, or walk
Well that's sweet. Thanks for the effort. I suppose you're doing the best that you can.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:32 PM   #7
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I think they work pretty well, except for the fact that most of the buses on routes I have seen are unable to compete with the speed of a bicycle.
I wasn't thinking of the racks being too slow for the cyclist. I think they're too slow for all the other passengers. One reason people (including you, evidently) don't like buses is they're slower than cars, so it would be good to speed them up a bit.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:43 PM   #8
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Go to a bus stop, find an out of service bus and play with the rack, you can get pretty quick setting the thing up. If we're worrying about buses being to slow, we need to allow the buses easier schedules and more buses per route. MBTA buses need to drive balls-to-the-wall in order to keep up on schedule, and that doesn't happen.
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Old 01-03-08, 03:45 PM   #9
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get a folding bike, carry it on the bus
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Old 01-03-08, 04:30 PM   #10
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Well that's sweet. Thanks for the effort. I suppose you're doing the best that you can.
well I regretted the snide comment, so I came in here now to delete that part


but, since you quoted me, I'll have to stand by it.
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Old 01-03-08, 04:40 PM   #11
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They only hold two bikes, and a lot of the time they're full and you have to wati for the next bus.

There has to be a better way! Any ideas?
Well, I agree with you that there should be more per bus. But if they are always full that must mean that they are a good idea.

For me the killer use of bike bus racks is when I want to go downtown for a professional meeting where I want to be well dressed and cool and collected, yet I want to get back after the buses stop running. I give my bike a ride down and then ride it back.

Both my house and my job are near the ends of the routes, so its rare that I can't find an open slot on the rack.
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Old 01-03-08, 05:46 PM   #12
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I can see your point..I don't think they're stupid but i can see problems with them if more that two people with bikes want to ride the bus...The bus capacity is around 50 people in my area...what if all of them want to use the racks that would be impossible.

I really like the idea of having dedicated subway or train cars that would be able to hold many bikes at once and would segregate them from the regular passengers so that they wouldn't annoy people and you could take your bike on the subway or train even during rush hour..

my 2 cents worth..
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Old 01-03-08, 05:54 PM   #13
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They make racks that hold three, but they don't fit and most bus models aren't street legal using them - just an awkward size.
They're the best solution we've come up with yet. If it's a problem, don't complain, come up with a better solution.
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Old 01-03-08, 06:36 PM   #14
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I have seen some buses in resort/college areas (Denver?) that had a 4 bike rack on the rear of the bus, IIRC the protocol there was a button you pushed to let the driver know you had unloaded and were clear. They also had the rear view mounted cameras. I have run into the full rack syndrome just enough to make me want a decent folder.

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Old 01-03-08, 06:59 PM   #15
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Yeah, MASCOT used to have rear racks, but they were more of a hazard than they felt confident dealing with, so they traded for front racks. Again, come up with a better solution and the transportation community will love you.
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Old 01-03-08, 07:18 PM   #16
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On our local buses when the outside rack is full you get to put the bikes in one of the two handicapped places. Normally bikes take the left HC slot and chairs take the right. Some drivers are good about moving passengers sitting on the fold down benches there and some are not. I've seen 6 bikes on one bus. Of course, if two wheel chairs get on you are off.
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Old 01-03-08, 07:50 PM   #17
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I wasn't thinking of the racks being too slow for the cyclist. I think they're too slow for all the other passengers.
If you think cyclists racking, boarding, alighting and de-racking is slow, apparently you don't have many wheelchairs on your route. Those make the slowest cyclist seem like Speedy Gonzalez.

The newer, low-floor buses are a lot better than the older, high-floor ones, but you could still board two cyclists in the time it takes for one chair to roll-on or off. And that's for a healthy, experienced chair user. You could take a nap waiting for the ones with mental or motor difficulties in addition.
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Old 01-03-08, 10:19 PM   #18
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If you think cyclists racking, boarding, alighting and de-racking is slow, apparently you don't have many wheelchairs on your route. Those make the slowest cyclist seem like Speedy Gonzalez.

The newer, low-floor buses are a lot better than the older, high-floor ones, but you could still board two cyclists in the time it takes for one chair to roll-on or off. And that's for a healthy, experienced chair user. You could take a nap waiting for the ones with mental or motor difficulties in addition.
I completely agree. It only takes me less than 60 seconds to get the bike on or off the rack even while keeping the kiddos from darting into the street. It doesn't seriously affect the time the bus gets to its next time point.
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Old 01-03-08, 11:03 PM   #19
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What can be done to fix this slow rack situation?
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Old 01-03-08, 11:53 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
You have to go to the front of the bus, pull the rack down, hoist your bike up, unsecure and secure the hook, and go back to the door of the bus. On the way out, you do all that again, plus tell the driver, and you're forced to leave by the front door of the bus. They only hold two bikes, and a lot of the time they're full and you have to wati for the next bus.

There has to be a better way! Any ideas?
Either take the bus or ride your bike. I do both on a regular basis, but not both at once. It's too much of a pain. (Of course, in a place with spotty bus service, I might feel differently...)
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Old 01-04-08, 12:17 AM   #21
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I use my bike in combination with the bus all the time. It's very convenient and fast!

Combining the two generally makes the trip both faster and much less tiring... Though there are plenty of routes where I can ride faster than the bus goes.

If you have more than one connection, but can use the bike at the beginning and end of a single bus ride so that you don't have to connect, you generally save an hour or more off a bus-only trip! Depends on the routes, though... there are a few routes that run every 10 minutes... transferring to one of those is super quick and easy... but if you're using routes that run every hour... bike/bus combo is the way to go!

as far as the racks being full... I don't run into that problem all that often... when I do there is usually another bus I can take. The bus service here lets you take the bikes on the back of the bus if it's not too busy... but that's a bigger pain than using the racks!

I've been told that San Diego buses have racks front and rear that carry 3 bikes each... would be nice to see that in more areas!

Edit: Oh... as for loading/unloading... I can generally do either before everyone has boarded the bus, so the slowdown for the rest of the bus is 0 seconds.

Takes me less than 20 seconds to lift my bike and get it secured.
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Old 01-04-08, 01:02 AM   #22
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I've been trying to get them put on the buses in my city, but people here are worried about bikes being stolen off of the rack. Loading shouldn't be a time-consuming affair, as this video attests:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkzkGca64e4
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Old 01-04-08, 01:20 AM   #23
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I like them and they're not slow at all. I recall pestering my local bus company for years before they actually got them, so it would be silly to complain about them, especially because they made my life a heck of a lot easier afterwards. My guess is the OP has never used one.
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Old 01-04-08, 03:17 AM   #24
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Perhaps they are or perhaps they are not. My experience is been that they are nice if it is pouring rain and you did not bring the right gear but otherwise they can be a hassle. As far as it goes most drivers are understanding, the riders well they are a different story. I think the last time I found it necessary to use the rack instead of riding the distance on my bike. Which can be done by the way. For those complaining about speed. Often though on the argument there is not enough space, well some drivers are willing to enable you to bring the bike on the bus if there is space. So all in all, Unless I am just feeling lazy at that particular moment or my bike needs a serious enough repair to warrant taking it to the lbs, I would rather jump in the saddle and hit the peddles.

Ride On ... And remember possibilities are endless save the fare for the bus and buy a snack.
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Old 01-04-08, 06:22 PM   #25
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In the Seattle area, bike racks on buses have been a godsend as I rarely have time to ride my entire 46 mile round trip commute. Usually I put the bike on the bus for most of the inbound commute, then ride the bike home in the evening. It's nice to be able to cut the ride short if the weather is really foul. It takes a bit of practice, but you can get pretty fast with loading and unloading a bike, and I'm not much over 5 feet tall.
If possible, it's best to do the bus ride first, as it can get a little chilly waiting for a bus after you've built up a sweat from riding. Anything that encourages people to use their bikes is good.
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