Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where Do People Bike and Bus?

All Community Transit buses are equipped with two-bike bicycle racks. We tried out a version of a three-bike rack a few years ago but had issues with the safety of people loading too close to passing traffic. When revenues improve, high capacity bike racks may be one of the issues we look at again.

Bike use on buses has grown over the years, partly thanks to promotions such as Bike to Work Day and Month. Swift bus rapid transit’s three-bike interior racks were designed by our own mechanics. Those easy-to-use racks are very popular, with about 6 percent of all Swift riders bringing along a bike, according to recent data. Considering Swift has about 100,000 boardings a month, that’s a lot of bikes!

About three years ago, around the time Swift started up, Community Transit changed its policy to allow riders to bring bikes on board all buses if the racks were full, if it was safe to do so (meaning the bus was not so full a bike in the aisle would not potentially harm anyone) and if the rider maintained control of the bike at all times. The driver has final say to allow bikes on board.

April 2012 statistics show that bike use on buses is robust across our entire service area.
Routes 201 and 202 between Smokey Point and Lynnwood had about 900 bikes each that month. Although the percentage of overall passengers using bikes looks small, take into account that we have capacity for 40+ passengers on each bus, but only 2+ bikes. Perhaps a better indicator is that there is a bike on almost every trip, on average.

Routes 115 and 116 also have robust bike ridership, about 500 bikes each. Both those routes serve Edmonds Community College.

While Route 424 does well among commuter routes with 30 bikes on 84 trips, that makes some sense since it serves UW. However, Route 422 has the highest ratio of bikes-to-trips with an average of one bike on every trip. That route is also the longest in our system, traveling between Stanwood and downtown Seattle.

A number of north county routes have high bike-to-passenger ratios: Routes 201, 202, 240, 270, 275 and 280. Could be that bus riders in those more rural areas have further to travel to get to or from their bus stops and a bike helps them get there.

Remember, Friday, May 18, is National Bike to Work Day. We hope to see you out there!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bike to Work Day, May 18

Community Transit has a long history of supporting and promoting Bike to Work Day. Part of our mission is to encourage commute alternatives to driving alone, even if it doesn’t involve taking the bus. Of course, we use Bike to Work Day and Month to encourage people to combine bike and bus trips as well.

This year, our agency is helping out with these events, but not taking the lead. Changes in staffing, fewer resources and, frankly, fewer buses on the road caused us to re-evaluate our role in Bike to Work. Still, we encourage people to get on their bikes, get healthy, and bike and bus when they can.

Community Transit is partnering with the Cascade Bicycle Club for all of your Bike Month needs. Regular bike commuters have been participating in the Group Health Commute Challenge, with teams and individuals tracking their participation and vying for some exciting prizes.

Friday, May 18, is National Bike to Work Day. Stop by one of the many Commuter Stations set up around Snohomish County and the City of Bothell for a snack, have your bike checked out by a mechanic and pick up your copy of the updated Snohomish County Area Bike Map!

This week, King County Metro is allowing cyclists to ride their buses (and Metro-operated ST buses) for free. Community Transit is not participating in this promotion, partly because we have two-bike racks on our buses (not three) and many of our bike racks are already well used. We don’t want to discourage those who show up with their bikes by potentially having them wait for two or more buses before they can board.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Electric Vehicles Can Charge Up at Mountlake Terrace Transit Center

Last Saturday, May 5, Community Transit and the City of Mountlake Terrace held an event at the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to unveil 10 new electric vehicle charging stations. The charging stations were installed by the city thanks to a federal stimulus grant to help complete a goal of creating a network of charging stations along the I-5 corridor. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen was there to help commemorate the event.

The 10 stations can charge up to 20 electric vehicles at a time. The city charges a fee for the electricity, now 85 cents an hour. At the event, several electric cars were there to get charged up, including a red Tesla roadster electric sports car.

The event was also used to announce that the transit center has received a Green Globes “One Globes” certification by the Green Building Initiative (GBI). This is similar to LEED certification for buildings. It means the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center was built with sustainable principles that create a low impact on the environment, reduce energy consumption and reduce overall maintenance costs.

The transit center was built with concrete using recycled materials, includes a daylighted stream as part of its stormwater runoff filtration system, has 30 solar panels that feed into the regional power grid and uses low-energy lighting in the parking garage.

The transit center earned a One Globes certification out of a possible four globes. The Mountlake Terrace Transit Center is believed to be one of the first non-occupied buildings in the world to be recognized for sustainable construction.