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Jan. 14, 2010

Starting Feb. 6 bikes can be loaded on any Metro bus at any time

Changes also ahead for bike locker users

In response to increased demand for linking bike and bus trips, King County Metro Transit will allow bicyclists to load and unload bicycles at any regular bus stop in downtown Seattle’s Ride Free Area at any time of the day starting Saturday, Feb. 6.

This will be a one-year demonstration project. Over the past several years, Metro has eased its limits on bike loading. The restrictions during peak hours in the busy downtown core are the last in place. Once they are lifted on Feb. 6, Metro will do a one-year safety and operations evaluation to decide whether to make the changes permanent.

Cyclists may also continue to load and unload bicycles at any station of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel during all hours the tunnel is open.

To ensure the success of the new Ride Free Area policy, bicyclists are asked to please remember:

  • Always alert the bus driver prior to loading or unloading a bike;
  • Make sure the driver acknowledges you before stepping in front of a bus;
  • Be aware of traffic around you when loading and unloading your bike; and
  • Use caution in stepping up and down from high curbs.

More tips about safe bike loading can be found on Metro Online in the bike section.

Metro's bike racks are easy to use, and there is no additional fare for using them. By this spring, Metro's entire bus fleet will be upgraded with three-position bike racks. Approximately 70 percent of Metro buses have those racks now.

Also, Metro has received a federal grant to test an on-demand system for bike lockers. Metro currently has bike lockers at 28 different park-and-rides and other transit facilities for people who just need bikes for one leg of their trip. These lockers provide secure storage and protect bikes from inclement weather.
Under the current system, lockers are available to bike commuters with a one-time key deposit and the leases must be renewed annually. If cyclists do not use their lockers on a daily basis, there is no way for others to use them at times when the locker is empty. An on-demand system will allow anyone with an access card to use any available locker. It should be a more efficient way to manage bicycle parking, and provide greater flexibility for Metro customers.

Planning for on-demand bike parking will occur in 2010, and the new system will be tested at a number of locations in 2011.

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