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Old 08-05-08, 08:28 AM   #1
stellablue19
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Metro buses - bike racks and usage question from a first-timer

I'm looking into commuting by bike + bus from North Seattle to downtown on Route 41, which arrives and departs from the Metro tunnel during rush hours. I've never taken a bike on a bus before and have a few questions.


1) Will an Electra Townie fit on the Metro rack? (Not sure because of the wider wheelbase.)

2) If my final destination is the Westlake Tunnel Station, would I instead have to get off a stop earlier at the Convention Place stop, which is the first in the ride-free zone? I don't recall ever seeing a bike in the bus tunnel itself and this must be why. If so, then I assume the same thing is true for boarding - I would ride back to the Convention Place stop rather than Westlake? http://transit.metrokc.gov/tops/bike/bikeride.html


Any other advice or things I should keep in mind?

Thanks!
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Old 08-05-08, 11:21 AM   #2
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Don't know about the Townie fitting but I can answer your other question. When boarding or exiting the bus in the tunnel you have to use Convention Place or the International Station for your bike. When not in the tunnel you must use the first or last stop in the free ride area. Of course it is a very quick ride from Convention Place to Westlake. Here is a link to the Metro Bike page http://transit.metrokc.gov/tops/bus/ridefree.html

I do not see why your Townie would not fit on the bus and they do allow electric powered bikes, just no gas powered ones.
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Old 08-05-08, 11:24 AM   #3
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I think your townie will fit just fine in the rack. there is lots of room for all types of wheels/lengths.

you will have to take the bike off at the stop before the ride free zone. most drivers seem to know that this fact isn't commonly known and will make an announcement about " last stop for bike removals" but some may not. in any case, if you forget they may let you off in the ride free area, but some are sticklers.

really, the only problem with regularly commuting with a bike /bus combo is going to be rack space availability. with only 2 on the metro busses and 3 on the Sound Transit, they can fill up fast and you will have to catch the next one if it's full (with no assurances that the following bus will have space either).

THat is probably my only suggestion/word of caution. with more and more people hopping on the bus, having only 2 bike racks seems inadequate, but thems the breaks for now.
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Old 08-06-08, 08:18 AM   #4
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you will have to take the bike off at the stop before the ride free zone. most drivers seem to know that this fact isn't commonly known and will make an announcement about " last stop for bike removals" but some may not. in any case, if you forget they may let you off in the ride free area, but some are sticklers.

really, the only problem with regularly commuting with a bike /bus combo is going to be rack space availability. with only 2 on the metro busses and 3 on the Sound Transit, they can fill up fast and you will have to catch the next one if it's full (with no assurances that the following bus will have space either).

THat is probably my only suggestion/word of caution. with more and more people hopping on the bus, having only 2 bike racks seems inadequate, but thems the breaks for now.
They are trying to update to 3 bike racks, but the new design had flaws in them so they ended up pulling them until that is fixed. Community Transit is looking into adding bike space on the inside of their buses, but I have a feeling we will never see that.

If you run into the full bike rack problem like I used to when doing the same commute (41, bus tunnel)
I started riding to the International District and boarding there. It is pretty much 5 minutes from anywhere in the downtown area by bike..
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Old 08-14-08, 10:22 AM   #5
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On a related note, has anyone ever heard of bikes coming out of those racks? I had my road bike on a bus going across the 520 bridge the other day and there was a big bounce that had visions of mangled carbon fiber going through my head. I think the bus driver did too - he definitely slowed down and made an obvious effort to drive smoothly (I was just going from Montlake to Evergreen Point). The bike was fine, but with the 700c wheels, it never seems to fit in the rack as "solidly" as my MTB. Is the slot next to the windshield is safer than the outboard slot?I'm probably just being paranoid, right?
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Old 08-14-08, 10:41 AM   #6
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Re-Bikes falling off of busses

I just started commuting this summer by bike. As gas got higher, I saw the bike racks filling up fast and bought a folder to deal with the full racks. 2nd week, I almost lost my bike 2x on the trip in one morning. Our lager Metro busses have 3 slots but 1 position has an open end vs closed ends on others. With 20" wheels, this allowed the bike to rock on the turns and work the arm off the front wheel.....almost letting it zing!!!! I have confirmed with bus drivers they loose about 1 bike a week these days.

I found that a bungie around the front arm of the rack to itself will keep the arm on the front tight across the wheel and stop it from jumping out or working loose.

Hope this helps.

Randy
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Old 08-14-08, 12:20 PM   #7
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On a related note, has anyone ever heard of bikes coming out of those racks?

Only the newer 3 bike racks, the ones that have the yellow ends on them to hold the bikes down. Community Transit lost enough bikes with those racks they have pulled them from all their buses. I never heard of any problems with the old ones with the metal hooks to hold the bike in. I have been using those since they first installed them back in the 80's.
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Old 08-14-08, 02:16 PM   #8
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Here in Los angeles I use the Metro/city buses frequently to make jumps across town. I have never had a problem with loading/unloading or heard of any bikes coming out of the rack. But now the problem is space. They seem to be full with two bikes quite often. Have not seen any three bike racks yet.
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