(Harrisburg) – CAT’s Bikes on Buses program creates more opportunities for flexible transit use, contributes to the mitigation of traffic congestion, reduces environmental impacts while helping riders improve their health. “On average more than 1,000 cyclists a month ride a CAT bus,” Robert Philbin, CAT spokesperson, said today.
“That’s more than one thousand cars a month not on our roads and highways, cars not contributing to air pollution, infrastructure degradation and traffic jams in Dauphin and Cumberland Counties and in the City of Harrisburg.”
As bikes and Bike-Share programs continue to rise in popularity in urban and suburban centers around the nation, CAT data shows about a ten percent annual growth in ‘Bikes on Buses’. But not all routes are equally useful to cyclists.
With almost 2,000 cyclists on board last year, CAT Route 12, with service from downtown Harrisburg, to State Street, Colonial Park, Colonial Commons, Paxton Towne Centre, Jonestown Rd., Gateway Center to Linglestown, has the largest number of cyclists riding a bus.
Also with 1,200 cyclists on board last year and 1,000 so far this year, Route C, featuring local and express Carlisle service, is the second most used route by cyclists. Other popular CAT routes include Routes B, 8, 3, 7, M and 17. Last fiscal year CAT carried about 12,000 bikes and this fiscal year to date 7,764 cyclists rode a CAT bus, with five months yet to go before June fiscal year end.
“’Bikes on Buses’ is seasonal,” Philbin said. “Peak ridership runs from April through October, then tapers through the holidays, into winter.” But even when bike ridership on buses is low – January through March – CAT carried almost 2,000 ‘Bikes on Buses’ in the first quarter last year.
“The next step in expanding cycling as a mode of public transportation is Bike-Share,” Philbin said. Basically a Bike-Share system provides bicycles to the public for use 24 hours a day from well-placed automatic bike stations located around a community and convenient to bus stops.
In cities where Bike-Share is successful, like Seattle, Boston, San Francisco, Charlotte and Austin, it’s clear bikes provide a new approach in short distance transport that is a realistic alternative to automobiles. It’s never been easier for visitors to swipe a credit card, rent a bike, and tour a city, experiencing neighborhoods and city culture at the street level. Connecting bikes with buses increases visitor mobility and access to more of the city.
Earlier this month, the chairs of the Congressional Bike Caucus introduced a bipartisan bill called the “Bikeshare Transit Act.” By designating bike-share systems as public transportation the legislation would make them eligible for federal funding.
U.S. cities of all sizes could then use federal funding for equipment, station technology, and cycling facilities to establish a bike-share system as part of public transit. If the bill becomes law it would serve as welcome recognition by federal officials of an increasingly popular urban travel mode.
“From a mobility standpoint, it’s not a stretch to consider bike-share a complementary part of any established bus networks.” Philbin added. “It gives transit users and communities another mobility option.”