MTA NYC Transit is finally joining the biking evolution by introducing bike racks. The initial roll out will occur on two Staten Island bus routes. Here are more details:
Starting on Sunday, September 6, MTA New York City Transit will add bicycle racks on two Staten Island bus routes, the first time that such equipment has been made available for public use on NYC Transit.
The yearlong Bike & Ride pilot will roll out on the S53 and S93 routes, which run between Staten Island and the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The two lines were chosen for their safe access to current and planned bicycle paths, ridership and routes, which serve a major college campus where bicycling is a popular commuting option.
“Bringing the Bike & Ride program to the S53 and S93 will increase the mobility of students who are traveling between home and campus. 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,” said Darryl C. Irick, President of MTA Bus and Senior Vice President, NYC Transit Department of Buses. “A future expansion will depend on results of this pilot and will most likely focus on routes that cross bridges.”
“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 NYC DOT Commissioner and MTA Board Member Polly Trottenberg. “These bus routes over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will provide a key connection for cyclists between Brooklyn and Staten Island. DOT looks forward to working with the MTA to expand Bike and Ride in the future.”
The bike racks have been installed on a dedicated fleet of buses that serve the two routes. During the pilot, NYC Transit will test the use of three types of front-mounted racks, each of which can fit up to two non-collapsible conventional bicycles. The racks have a mechanism that secures the bicycle in place during transit. Customers are responsible for loading and unloading their own bicycles by following instructions that are affixed to the racks.
Over the course of the pilot, NYC Transit will study the feasibility of continuing and/or expanding the program to other boroughs by looking at any impacts on service, safety, fleet maintenance, training, operations, costs and legal issues. A test run in March was conducted with no major issues, though managers noted possible locations with tight turns along the routes and the inability to machine-wash the fronts of buses as potential safety and maintenance issues, which are being addressed.
The racks are free to use and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Customers who wish to transport their bicycles must wait for a bus with an available rack. There is no age restriction on usage but the customer must be able to load and unload the bicycle safely and securely, and parents or guardians are asked to use caution when allowing minors to use the racks. Any customer who cannot safely operate the bicycle rack may be restricted from using the service.
The S53 route operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day between Park Avenue/Richmond Terrace on Staten Island and the 86 St R station in Brooklyn. Its route overlaps in some places with the S93, which operates limited-stop service weekdays between the College of Staten Island campus and the 86 St R station. Customers who use S53 stops on Lily Pond Avenue may use dedicated bike lanes there, and bike lanes on Clove Road along the route are scheduled to open later this year.
NYC Transit has purchased a total of 38 racks at a cost of $42,000. The S53, the second busiest bus route on Staten Island, serves an average of 10,100 customers on an average weekday. The S93 route has an average weekday ridership of 3,250 customers
I wonder how popular they will become if they ever make it system wide. My initial concern would be the delay in boarding times along routes that already face scheduling issues as it is (especially in Manhattan). We shall see how this experiment goes.
xoxo Transit Blogger