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Bike racks on buses are stupid

Old 01-08-08, 03:55 PM
  #51  
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Old 01-08-08, 04:06 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
Buses are slow because the have to adhere to a set schedule and they have to stop all the time. Bikes do NOT slow the buses down any further.

I'm frequently on a bus that is rolling along at less than the speed of traffic so that he doesn't have to stop and just WAIT... though that has happened too. Nothing like being on a bus that's sitting on the side of the road waiting for the schedule to catch up.

Again... anyone that uses the bike racks on the bus regularly will be able to load or unload in well under 30 seconds... the bus usually has to sit longer than that to board regular passengers and again waiting to pull out into traffic on busier roads. And heaven forbid if someone actually needs the handicap ramp!

Especially those huge SUV strollers some people have! Yikes! Not only do they take forever to load/unload, but they take up 2 seats (One handicap space) and run over toes on the way in and out!
The buses here are almost always on schedule. In my experience, they are within 3 minutes more than 90 % of the time, no matter where you pick one up. So maybe the delay for bikes is more glaring in a well run system. Again, I'm going by info I've read indicating that the biggest delays for buses are not traffic delays, but time spent loading and unloading people. Bikes certainly don't decrease loading time, and I believe they increase it.

You said it only takes 30 seconds to load and unload a bike. I'll buy that. But if you have only three people with bikes on a crosstown run, that's a total of three minutes delay on the run (loading and unloading each bike). That's is significant delay on a well-scheduled bus line.

While we're at it, I think we could come up with more efficient loading of wheelchairs, strollers and grocery carts too. Greater loading efficiency, wherever it comes from, should lead to quicker service and fewer late arrivals. That would be a good thing!
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Old 01-09-08, 06:43 PM
  #53  
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I rode a bus last year, simply because I had never done so, and I put my bike on the rack pretty quickly - and I'd never used one. Our handicapped bus patrons have a special bus detail that comes when called. (Bay Transit?) Alternatives?
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Old 01-09-08, 09:59 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
The buses here are almost always on schedule. In my experience, they are within 3 minutes more than 90 % of the time, no matter where you pick one up. So maybe the delay for bikes is more glaring in a well run system. Again, I'm going by info I've read indicating that the biggest delays for buses are not traffic delays, but time spent loading and unloading people. Bikes certainly don't decrease loading time, and I believe they increase it.

You said it only takes 30 seconds to load and unload a bike. I'll buy that. But if you have only three people with bikes on a crosstown run, that's a total of three minutes delay on the run (loading and unloading each bike). That's is significant delay on a well-scheduled bus line.

While we're at it, I think we could come up with more efficient loading of wheelchairs, strollers and grocery carts too. Greater loading efficiency, wherever it comes from, should lead to quicker service and fewer late arrivals. That would be a good thing!
You're making an assumption here that that 30 seconds is in addition to loading/unloading the normal passengers... normally it isn't! If I'm unloading, I'm the first one off the bus (Before they start loading anyone that's waiting) if there's even one person boarding the time spent waiting for me is usually 0 seconds.

If I'm waiting at a stop with other people getting on, I load my bike, then have to spend time waiting at the back of the line to board and pay.

I'd say at least 80% of the time the bus doesn't spend any extra time waiting for me.

And the 30 seconds was a guess... It's probably less than 20 seconds total to fold or unfold the rack and load/unload the bike. Maybe I'll actually count it off sometime!

Oh... and the newer low-floor buses are MUCH faster at loading/unloading wheelchairs, stroller, etc. They also have the bonus of being able to 'kneel' ie: drop the front end a bit (about 6") to make it easier for people to step into or out of the bus. (Or for me to load my bike if I happen to have groceries or something on it!)
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Old 01-09-08, 10:33 PM
  #55  
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I had the opportunity to time the guy who was putting a bike on the rack when I took the bus this morning. He took 18 seconds from the time he stepped in front of the rack until he was stepping on the bus. It was also not a delay since the previous passenger had just started walking down the aisle to find a seat as the bike rider was stepping on the bus.
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Old 01-10-08, 12:20 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
You said it only takes 30 seconds to load and unload a bike. I'll buy that. But if you have only three people with bikes on a crosstown run, that's a total of three minutes delay on the run (loading and unloading each bike). That's is significant delay on a well-scheduled bus line.
That's assuming the transit service doesn't care if a route runs significantly ahead of schedule. A late bus is far less troublesome for transit providers and users alike, than a bus that "never came at all" because it was running well ahead of schedule; passing before passengers went out to catch it. In other words, on a scheduled run with very few passengers, you aren't delaying the bus by loading a bike. The driver is probably going to stop for a few minutes at some point, drive slowly, or drive in circles to stay on schedule anyway.

Your buses run on time, because the drivers and planners work constantly to include time for delays, and have a lot of strategies for keeping a route on schedule despite all the things that can go wrong. Drivers are trained in assisting with disabled people when necessary, explaining things to confused or rookie passengers, dealing with troublemakers, and networking with other drivers, dispatchers, police, and traffic monitoring to plan ahead for traffic snafus, unexpected large passenger demand, or weather. Bicycle delays are an insignificant problem among everything else bus drivers deal with.

The drivers are the ones to ask, many are friendly and willing to answer discrete questions. Or attend a meeting, if your transit provider has any open to the public. Transit services often do. Or email, and ask someone at your transit provider.
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Old 01-10-08, 01:09 AM
  #57  
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Right... it's against policy for the buses to be more than 2 minutes ahead of schedule (Here and most other areas I've ridden in)... I've filed complaints when the buses were running far enough ahead of schedule that I've missed the bus because they're in a hurry to get to the transit center to take their break.
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Old 01-10-08, 08:35 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
Right... it's against policy for the buses to be more than 2 minutes ahead of schedule (Here and most other areas I've ridden in)...
Same here. Routes have designated "time points" at which the driver will stop for a minute or two if the bus is ahead of schedule.
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Old 01-10-08, 08:37 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
Oh... and the newer low-floor buses are MUCH faster at loading/unloading wheelchairs, stroller, etc. They also have the bonus of being able to 'kneel' ie: drop the front end a bit (about 6") to make it easier for people to step into or out of the bus. (Or for me to load my bike if I happen to have groceries or something on it!)
Do you have the buses with the extending ramps? Great design.

Anecdote: several years ago an older lady using a cane comes up to one of the (then new) kneeling buses, taps the side of the bus with her cane, and says, "Down boy."
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Old 01-10-08, 08:24 PM
  #60  
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Ok... I actually timed how long I slowed up the buses today loading and unloading my bike...

Made one big trip with a couple stops, 4 buses total.

Stop 1: Boarding
<15 seconds to load bike... had to wait in line to board afterwards. Additional time: 0 secs

Stop 2: Unload
20 seconds to exit bus and unload (Had to wait for a slow person disembarking ahead of me)... riders were still boarding when I rode off. Additional time: 0 secs.

Stop 3: Load
<15 secs to load... passengers were still loading. Additional time: 0 secs

Stop 4 unload
<15 seconds to unload... passengers were still disembarking. Additional time: 0 secs

Stop 5 load
25 seconds to load (had a 30lb load on the back of the bike!)... bus then pulled forward and spent two minutes waiting at a red light. Additional time: 0 secs (That's the LONGEST light on the route... it takes FOREVER for a left turn signal!)

Stop 6 Unload
Didn't time it... it was at a layover... the bus had 10 minutes to wait.

Stop 7 Load
Bus on a layover...

Stop 8 Unload
Took 10 seconds from the time I stepped off the bus to the time the bus started pulling away.


So... four buses, and I delayed them by about 10 seconds TOTAL with my bike. I think they can handle it.
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Old 01-10-08, 11:25 PM
  #61  
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My local bus system, Orange County Transit rates about a B+ with me. They have a very large bus network that covers many parts of our county of 3.5 million, and I live about a block from a bus stop that gets me going in a couple of directions. Fare is a measly $1.25. All buses have bike racks, and they are quite popular and useful. No complaints from me. Even better, at the rate of 20 buses per month, the bus system is phasing out it's diesel buses and getting new compressed natural gas models. That means when a bus passes by while I'm pedaling along, I'm less likely to suck in so many toxic fumes.
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Old 01-11-08, 11:19 AM
  #62  
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i think the racks are great, as long as they don't fail. here in sea-town we've had a few bikes fall off the racks on the interstate, talk about *****ty..
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Old 01-11-08, 05:03 PM
  #63  
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Indeed that holds true, an ongoing process it surely is. For me most routes are not to far and the weather in California is not bad, so I try not to ride the bus to often. Though I will admit I have seen at least a few others who even though they are in full gear would rather not deal with the wind that is inevitable around the afternoon hours. And as such he rides the bus almost regularly. It is interesting for sure.

Better to Ride A Bike then ride a bus.
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Old 01-11-08, 10:06 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
i think the racks are great, as long as they don't fail. here in sea-town we've had a few bikes fall off the racks on the interstate, talk about *****ty..
I heard that happened quite a bit with those new triples.
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Old 01-12-08, 08:02 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Greater loading efficiency, wherever it comes from, should lead to quicker service and fewer late arrivals. That would be a good thing!
Well, that depends on whether you find regularly pulling off the road and sitting stationary for a bit to be a "good thing" in part; buses CANNOT be early and have to find delays wherever they can to keep behind schedule on some days.
By far, the largest delay in service is the farebox; some bus systems have gone to free fares because the resulting increase in efficiency was worth more than the fares. Also, American buses usually have unusually narrow loading doors, forcing single file boarding, which greatly exacerbates this problem. Bicycle loading and unloading times are relatively minor in comparison and are trivial compared to the board and disembark time for wheelchairs, which must be strapped into place by a bus employee.
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Old 01-12-08, 10:39 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
By far, the largest delay in service is the farebox; some bus systems have gone to free fares because the resulting increase in efficiency was worth more than the fares.
+1 That is a huge problem here. It doesn't help that the transfer printers are so bloody slow. We're back in the 80's when it comes to fare boxes.
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Old 01-12-08, 11:23 AM
  #67  
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Another use of the rack is when your destination is farther than you want to ride all the time. For example, I live in Charleston; if I were to get a job at either West Virginia State University (Institute) or the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (Montgomery), it would be too far to commute by bicycle. (Oh, one can ride to either campus, but it is really too far and takes too long to do so on a regular basis; not to mention that the main road to Montgomery is a little dangerous for cyclists). However, the Kanawha Valley Regional Transit Authority does serve both towns from Charleston; hence, I'd cycle to the bus stop, put my bike on the rack, ride to Montgomery or Institute, then cycle to campus. I'd get there cool, calm, and collected.
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Old 01-12-08, 10:13 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
i think the racks are great, as long as they don't fail. here in sea-town we've had a few bikes fall off the racks on the interstate, talk about *****ty..
Mine has logged a couple hundred miles of interstate on the front racks of the buses with no incidents. but we don't have any of the triple bike racks.
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Old 01-14-08, 05:05 PM
  #69  
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it is surely an ongoing subject, I wonder though sometimes when you think things over and look at the options. It is a worthy expenditure to ride the bus based on need, or laziness if you would rather that way. IMO it is good to have that available in the just in case scenario. Bike racks do make sense in all honesty, and it is certainly a good way to get less cars on the street. More people biking well that is what we all are working on.


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Old 01-15-08, 04:30 PM
  #70  
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wish we had them in aus. barely enough room for a bike on the trains here
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Old 01-22-08, 01:08 PM
  #71  
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I find the rack very handy on the express routes. No point using local routes, unless the weather turns sour.
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Old 01-27-08, 01:23 AM
  #72  
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It is recommended that you remember to remove your bike when you disembark!

From Seattle:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/...parking18.html
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Old 02-07-08, 01:10 PM
  #73  
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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?
This is my own solution. For that and other reasons, I now only use small wheeled folding bikes covered in a bag of some sort and taken right on board with me at my side. I have done this even in the most crowded buses/trains in existance in the Southern California area. Bikes are valuable items. Would you leave your laptop computer, wallet, purse or briefcase tied in front of a bus. I think not and the bike should be treated just the same.

For photos of my bikes in action right on the buses/trains see:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/world-o...7594325178229/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/world-o...7594325178229/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/world-o...7594325178229/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/world-o...7594325178229/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/world-o...57594325178229/
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Old 02-08-08, 11:21 PM
  #74  
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Yes they do have there benefits. I have used them when I had a mechanical failure on a bike as a faster way to get to the lbs, otherwise rain or shine I try and ride. that was fun for a moment I see that I cannot post or reply and now it is back. A malfunction? I just had dinner and now pondering what to do for the or plan the ride for the weekend. Looking for feedback on how I can improve biking.hok-international.net.
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Old 02-09-08, 08:05 AM
  #75  
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What I think is stupid is only having main artery routes equipped with them.Even then it's every 2nd or 3rd bus.Can be wait a while.The only time I've ever used one was when my derailleur decided to get cozy with my spokes.Other than that I've never had the need.The bike has wheels
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