Monday, September 15, 2008

Photos and Information From The MAT Open House

Tammie Dodge from ActivateOmaha and Linda Barritt, Marketing Director for Metro Area Transit were on hand today at the MAT headquarters to demonstrate the new bike racks. I didn't do a headcount, but I'd estimate between 15 and 20 people showed up for the demonstration and to ask questions. Many came with or on their bikes. Everyone had a chance to mount and dismount their bikes on the rack. I found that once I got the hang of it, the process only takes a few seconds.

The official usage instructions are here on the MAT web site. The racks will be available for use in two weeks on Monday, September 29. Ms. Barritt confirmed that all buses, even the shorter van style units will be outfitted with the racks by that date.

If you wanted to try out the racks but missed the open house, MAT plans to have some buses available at the September 28 Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge opening ceremony.

The rack in the folded up position.

The rider must bring the rack into the ready position.

The first bike will be placed nearest the bus.

The second bike will go on the side farthest from the bus.

Ms. Barritt describes the process and what to expect when using the racks.

That's my bike on the outside position. Note that only the front wheel is tied down to the rack. Despite that, the rack and the securing arm seemed very secure and should safely hold the bike while in transit.

Some usage tips:
  • Remove all bottles, panniers, pumps, etc. before the bus arrives at the stop
  • Once on board the bus, sit as close to the front door as you can
  • If you need to use the near position because the outside position is occupied, you can still load or unload the bike from the side, rather than trying to lift your bike over the other
  • If the rack is full, you will not be permitted to board the bus with the bike, even at the back door as some some cities allow
  • If you suspect your route may be full, survey the other users and try to work out a schedule to stagger your commutes
  • Consider a cable lock to run through your wheel and frame to prevent a would be thief from riding off on your bike. Just be sure to have the lock on before the bus arrives. You don't want the driver to think you are locking your bike to the rack
  • Have some ID mark on your bike, or log your serial number in case your bike gets lost in some manner. MAT is considering a 30 day holding policy before turning a lost bike over to charity.
  • Some policies are still be worked out, such as minimum rider age and rack availability during winter months. Don't be shy about contacting Ms. Barritt through the MAT website to share your thoughts.
In my opinion, adding bike racks to the city's buses is an amazing step forward in making our city a bikeable community. As others have said, this is "virtual" east-west path across the city and may help to get more folks using both bicycle and public transportation.


brady said...

Once again, good coverage Redd. That's a sweet looking bike on the front of the bus. How was the open house turn out?

By the way, I've tagged that dumpster (#2006) eight times since 11/13/2007. Unless it's been repaired since my last ride 07/28/2008, my notes say there are cracks in the fourth, fifth and seventh window on the driver's side as well as a crack on the window of the back door.

Just in case you were wondering.

brady said...

Um...okay so the open house turn out was 15-20. Sorry. A little distracted there, you know, foaming at the mouth and such when I saw refurbished orange #2006.

Anyway, still a good write up - thanks :-)

Scott Redd said...

Thanks Brady. What's the "#2006"? I see "9606" on the front window, and on the front panel. I presumed that "9606" was the bus number.

15 to 20 people turning out wasn't bad, in my opinion. It was also a nice cross section of society; men and women, young and old, black and white. My guess is that an even larger number will be interested us using the racks once they see bikes on them.

Are there tracking web sites as there are for bookcrossing and geocaching, or is this bus tagging something you do on your own for fun?

This reminds me of a joke.

My mamma always told me to look for that one weirdo that's on every bus. Funny, I've been riding the bus for years and somehow have yet to spot the weirdo.

brady said...

9606. Yeah, that's what I meant. I was still foaming at the mouth when I made my first correction. As Bullwinkle used to say, "This time for sure!"

There are likely bus spotting web-sites out there, but those are for OCD freaks.

I keep track of the stats on the blackberry. Giving me one of those was the worst thing my employer could have done for my productivity.

As for the weirdo on the bus, I'm with you - never spotted one!