I started noticing about six months ago that more transportation agencies seemed to be taking measures to provide more and/or better accessibility to bikers.
In August, responding to customer requests for bike access at train stations, NJ Transit made some trains “bike-friendly” on weekends and made other improvements in support of the transportation needs of the cycling community.
Meanwhile, Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) will invest $9.4 million to improve bike connections throughout the county. The funds will be spread among 23 projects to add new bike lanes and trails, build bridges and crossings for cyclists, improve signs and add bike racks.
Additionally, more people are riding their bicycles to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) stations, according to Metro’s most recent bicycle census, which counted parked bicycles at Metrorail stations.
Bike parking usage in 2012 is up 3% from last year and the availability of bicycle parking near Metrorail stations has increased to more than 4,000 spaces. Currently, 85 of 86 Metrorail stations have bicycle racks available. At stations with newly installed bike racks, the census showed an uptick in usage compared with last year. In May, Metro introduced the system's first "bike & ride" facility at College Park Station.
It’s not just on college campuses, but very prevalent there, of course. In September, University of Michigan launched a new bicycle rental program this fall with 30 bikes available at a rate of $5 per day, or $75 per semester, Stanford’s bicycle program includes free bike safety classes; a folding bicycle promotion for eligible commuters, University of Texas at Austin provides a one-stop shop called The Kickstand, where cyclists can check out U-locks, use tools, get help with minor bike adjustments and purchase basic bicycle accessories at discounted prices.
In the new year we may look a little closer at these services, how many transit agencies are providing them, what the costs and time commitments are, etc. Is your agency making its services more biker-friendly? What features would you be interested in learning about?
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "'The camera doesn't lie" here.
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Driving a bus never looked easy. Living in California and being stuck in my car as much as I am, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the men and women who operate buses on a daily basis. So, when the call came that I would get my shot to drive in Sunday’s APTA Bus Roadeo, I was both excited and nervous.