[Edit 3 March 2015: We are one step closer with an actual installation happening. Expectation is a test bus available by beginning of April 2015.]
[Foreword 8th June 2015: We have now had the result from the DVSA, and it’s not good.]
CycleBath have been working with Bath and North East Somerset Council, First group, and Wessex buses to get to a pilot to put free front cycle racks on public buses in Bath. It is almost ready!
This has been a long drawn out process getting legal clarification from the Department for Transport, getting the bus companies, and the council on board.
Why FRONT cycle racks?
There are fundamental issues with rear cycle racks that just cannot simply be overcome:
- They increase ‘dwell’ time significantly, that is, the time it takes to board on and off a bus by a passenger.
- Rear cycle racks are less secure with neither the bus driver or the cyclists easily able to watch the bikes.
- Rear cycle racks, by their nature make your bike dirtier.
Front cycle racks overcome all these issues and have been used throughout the world for over 20 years with no issues.
We are finally at a stage to begin the process of putting a pilot together.
- Potential bus routes have been identified based on non-use of the bus station, as well as ensuring the length of the bus below kept below the legal length of 12.5m for a 2 axle bus.
- First 13 ( Fox Hill)
- Park and Ride ( Lansdown, Odd Down and Newbridge)
- University 18 Wessex buses (First buses are too long)
- Meeting between the engineers in the bus companies and the cycle rack representative is being arranged.
- Awaiting information from bus companies as to the number of buses (determines how many rack mounting plates to buy) used on a route and how many are on the route at any one time (number of racks needed).
- Funding options are being explored with local organisations that have an interest in getting racks on certain routes.
- Funding back-up plans are being considered:
- Fund raising on a per route.
- LSTF money as a last resort (2016/17)
- Define the pilot launch:
- Public education on use of racks
- Measure levels of use
- Identify any difficulties in use
- Issues bus companies have racks.
- Lots still to be done.
- Length the pilot should run for.
As you can see it’s rather complicated drawn out process and there is still rather a long way to go. We hope you are as excited by this as we are!
Bath lends itself to cycle racks on buses and it’s a great place to demonstrate their use.