One year ago, it was against the rules to load your bike on the front of a King County Metro bus in the downtown Ride Free Area during rush hour. The idea was that bike loading would slow bus movement through the busy downtown stops, slowing down the whole system.
In February last year, Metro removed the restriction for one year to determine if bike loading would, in fact, interfere with bus movement. Cascade Bicycle Club reports that the results are in, and bikes had no measurable effect on bus movement. Therefore, starting next month, the rule becomes permanent. From Cascade:
Nearly a year has passed. The results are in and the news is good! Metro says there have been no problems with safety, operation or on-time performance due to this policy change, and they are making it permanent with the February 2011 service change. It will no longer be billed as a demonstration.
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Thanks to King County Metro for offering better options for linking bus and bike transportation.
When I learned there was a rule against loading and unloading a bike from a Metro bus in the Free Ride Area, I had been doing it for months. Drivers did not seem to care at all, and I went about my way completely oblivious to the rule’s existence. I didn’t even know it existed until I heard the rule was going away last year.
I’m happy Metro did this study and changed the rules. Perhaps if any other cities have a similar rule, they can use Metro’s study to help change their rules, too.
I have written about bike/bus synergy before. Combining bikes and buses is a beautiful, practical solution to many people’s biggest concerns about both transit and bikes. The bike makes getting to bus stops faster and easier for those who do not live/work near a good bus line. The bus can do most of the leg work for longer distances, and bikes can fill in the gaps. Bikes can often replace the need to transfer. Were you going to transfer to a bus and ride it for less than a few miles? Just hop on the bike and forget that transfer entirely. The possibilities are endless. After getting into a routine, you may even find yourself skipping the bus and riding the whole way instead…
Here’s one example of the power of the bus/bike combo. When I lived up the hill in Fremont, I used to ride a few blocks to Aurora, hop on the 358, get off in Belltown and ride downtown to my work. My record door-to-door travel time (including parking) was in the neighborhood of 14 minutes (though 20 was much more usual). I am pretty sure there is no way to make that trip in less time.
Anyone else have a good example of the power of the bus/bike combo?