Thursday, December 4, 2008

Metro To Help Bring Bikes Into The Fold

Okay, okay, so transit ridership is a little low because of this. But in the endless predictable cycle of things, what goes up, must come down, but will inevitably bounce back up again.

Remember during those inflated-gas price days of Summer, there was talk of how to accommodate more bicycles in transit vehicles? Everything from removing more seats to a "bikes only" railcar on trains to a rear bike rack on buses (a.k.a "Free Bikes For The Taking!").

Well, imagine buying one of them nifty, slick $400-and-up folding bikes to stow on your bus or train ride, but getting a nice subsidized discount and paying considerably less for it!

The Militant is pleased to report that such a thing will happen in the very near future, as operative reports have informed him that Metro, partnering with Calstart, received $85,000 in Caltrans Community-Based Transportation Planning grant funds to implement a folding bike subsidy program. Basically, (M) would provide price discounts to transit riders to purchase a collapsible bike to use for their bus and/or train ride(s).

The whole focus of the program are "first and last mile commuters" who require an efficient alternative to autos and a quicker alternative to walking to get to/from their bus and/or train. Since folding bikes take up considerably less real estate than a conventional bike, apparently this program was proposed as a way to address the capacity vehicles on transit vehicles.

So yes, guess you can say that (M) is growing the cojones for the Dahones.

Apparently, these funds were awarded back in June. The money's there, so where's the program? The Militant wants his folding bike!


philpalm said...

I have a Wepon fold up e-bike, which has similar small diameter wheels. They fit the bike rack or fold up. Unfortunately they are heavy because of the batteries (the frame is aluminum).

I suppose if the wheels had tires with a smaller diameter they could go faster (though make them fall on turns easier). Tyres for the Dahon are not common either.

My fold up bike has no front derailer and a six gear clog in the rear. I can't keep up with racer bikes but it gets the job done though the battery range is about 20 miles....

It also has foldable pedals but the best option is the springed gelled seats.

frazgo said...

I never understood the whole no-bike thing, or limited hours a bike can be brought on board. I see a huge potential increase in ridership if people could bike the last mile or so from the station instead of having to hassle with a couple of buses.

I saw plenty of bikes on the Metro in Paris, they had their own car, and on the light-trail around London their own section of a car.

Last I brought it up to a bunch of transit folks they got mad and poo-poo'd the idea. If enough people keep hammering and yammering it may happen.

I saw on the news this morning that transit ridership was up 6% nationally last month so it looks like the conversion to mass-transit may be continuing, just at a slower pace. That's good I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Something that should be put in at union station is a small bike service station like this: It costs less almost $1000 but can be a great help to cyclists at union station. This is a small investment compared with most of metro’s projects. One of these was recently put in at PCC. It is great because people can easily go and get air and make adjustments to their bike to fix small problems that otherwise might leave them walking home. Also the customer service at gateway center should carry inner tubes in the most common sizes. The service station should be put in an area that is locked after hours and were security guards can keep an eye on it so that nobody breaks the pump or tries to steal the tools.