January Bus Day - cycles in the Bus!?

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BusPublic Transport

Let us help BMTC re-enthuse Bus Day with support and new ideas for more experiments. Yes, they are yet to improve on tons of suggestions that Bus Day has generated (last mile, bus shelters, bus interchanges etc etc), but there is no harm in keeping at Bus Day, to try some small things they can do, and remind them again and again and again about the larger things they want to but are not able to do :)

Now, on a recent weekend, I had to go to the Planetarium. Since there is no easy 1-change option to go from Whitefield to Planetarium, I thought I'd take along the cycle in the bus (Volvo's back-side entrance has space for 2/3 cycles). Took my cycle to Kundalahalli Bus stand, stopped some 335Es and 331A and asked BMTC staff if I could. I had called a contact at BMTC and checked, as per them, they have told Vajra staff that cycles are okay (not sure if this is BMTC's official stand). Regardless, of the 3 buses I tried, 1 driver seemed confused, said only small/kiddy cycles would be allowed, other 2 said they don't know, so they won't let the cycle in. Well anyway, I parked my cycle at a nearby place, and took the Bus-Auto combination to get to the Planetarium and return.

Shouldn't BMTC allow cycles in the buses? Why not? Charge a fee for it if demand is to high. And use the fee to maintain cycle hanger/attachments in the front-side of buses. Or, for starters, allow them in Vajra's, since there is space for 2-3 of them.

Moving on to the questions - Is there demand for such a thing? Will bus commuters find it easy to get the cycles in and out? How much time will it take? Well, Bus Day is that thing, the perfect "test tool" to answer such questions. Why not try this for Jan and Feb Bus Days!?

Allow cycles in Vajras (as there is space), and also try to get cycle hangers in some other services (Big10) and then allow cycles in all the buses that have cycle hangers in place.

On to the aware Prajgalu for their feedback. BMTC is game, in fact, its not a new idea, they already have it in their list. What have you seen elsewhere? Do city buses charge extra for cycles? Anyone has photos of cycle hangers/attachments for the Buses?



some pictures

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Courtesy swamplot.com

This one from bostonbiker.org

demand might be higher than expected

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Above pictures are from western countres, where save for exceptions, public transport isn't preferred. Here, those who use the bus, MAINLY do so because they can't afford a personal mode of transport. To them, if a bicycle can save an auto fare, or 20 minutes waiting for another bus for that last 2 kilometer, cycle in the bus may appeal. And if it does, we may find these 2/3 cycle hangers inadequate.

If BMTC can experiement with hangers, would be great. If it would only be Vajras (where there is some space for 1-2 cycles), Bus Day experment wouldn't target the users who may find more value in carrying the cycles.

Regardless of all the arguments, something is better than nothing. Must try, must experiment.

Can't have cycle-hangers in the back

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If putting hangers in the back as well, bikers would have to lock their cycles as the driver can't keep watch. Anyone could just lift the cycles off and walk away at signals etc.

If you allow people the time to lock their cycles in, the boarding and dropping a cycle carrying commuter would take more time. 1-2 minutes extra?

Any creative designs to allow 4-6 cycles in the front of the bus? Except for Vajra, other buses won't be able to take in cycles inside. May be JNNURM bus design specs for low/semi-low floor buses should include space for cycles near the back-side/middle entrance of te buses.

could take in 4 cycles, but at the back

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Found this picture (courtesy photographersdirect.com). Looks like such designs could take in 4 cycles. But back means, lock and unlock time spent in taking cyclers on the bus.

end stops could work..

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Getting the cycles on these contraptions and off should work if the passenger gets on the starting point and alights at the end point..for ex if 335e could stop at ITPL instead of going to kadugodi..it would make sense to get on these bikes either in the front or at the back.. 

Bike sharing more scalable?

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Considering the volume of cycles per bus will grow to more than a bus can handle we could look at bike sharing options like this one in china

you are right, more scalable

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Absolutely, bike sharing would be more scalable. However, a bike-hanger stunt like this could help generate some demand and curiosity for the Bus/cycle combo. If the buses do get crowded with cycles, that would be a real good problem to have, we would generate demand for the in-the-works bike sharing program (the project you are anchoring us on).

Let us push for this in Jan/Feb Bus Day. request all to send emails to BMTC, or leave comment here in support of this experiment.

Good problem to have

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If the buses do get crowded with cycles, that would be a real good problem to have

Absolutely - more demand will mean more switching over to bicycle/bus & therefore further pressure to have more facilities & reduction of road vehicles.

I think some space can be allocated in buses for bicycles - & bicycle carriage will have to be paid for since space is used up.

One example I have seen of bike racks

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 The American college town I lived in few years back used to have buses with bike racks in the front.  It could hold 2 bikes only though.  While I was there, at some point, limited parking on campus forced a rethink and they did this trick where the University paid an annual amount to the RTS (Regional Transit System) and anybody could ride the bus with a University pass. (Was recovered from student fees approved by "Student Government" - but the amount was only some $40 a semester).  The campus is HUGE and it helps to have a bicycle. So some students would bring their bike along. The buses were as packed as 335E Volvos at peak hour. 

One could put the bicycle in the rack and quickly clamp it in place - not a complicated operation unless your bicycle is too complicated. Some pictures below.  The bike rack does extend the overall length of the vehicle by 3ft and the driver has to be a bit more careful.  It should be possible to design a rack that holds maybe 4 bicycles.

See link here for some more details.


When the number of bicycles

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When the number of bicycles exceed the low no. of bicycles that can be accommodated by front hangers, articulated buses like the one shown in the picture above can be used with the whole rear section of the bus dedicated to allow parking. A kind of mobile parking. The flip side is that mobile stands with larger no. of cycles add a whole lot more travel time (esp. for longer travellers) than stationary, multi-level, shared-cycle stands adopted in China. Why cannot upper level of TTMCs have limited space allocated (with rudimentary, sheet roof shelter and multi-level stands) for cycle parking? Wasn't the whole concept of TTMC to promote enclosed/convenient transfer of travel modes, allow more buses with multiple levels and allow shopping/commercialization to recover costs?

Space at TTMC, other locations

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Refer IDS'es project for developing the eventual and scalable solution - park your own or rented cycle near the bus stand (like TTMC as you said 'n'), then take the bus. Works the best for those whose office is near a bus stand, but home is not. If both are away from bus stand, then one would need two changes - cycle-bus, bus-cycle. More the changes, more the unwillingness unless changes are super smooth, or cycle can be sold/hyped around as "cool".

Few Bus Day stunts could at least test some theories on Bus/cycle combo.

Tough to pull off in Jan Bus Day, will try Feb

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Too close to try this in Jan, but trying my best to get BMTC to allow this experiment during Feb 2011 bus day.

During a meeting with them last week, there was a concern raised that there may not be enough space in the Vajras of today to accomodate 2 cycles, and yet keep standing space for passengers in the middle entrance area. Should just go try it in a Vajra one day to resolve this.

If the space is indeed a problem today, then a bus day experiment will only be possible via Bus holder/hangers in the front. And procuring them, fixing them etc will take some time and effort.

Bicycles on Vajras

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Too close to try this in Jan

Don't see why it cannot be tested, if, say, 4-5 bicycles are permitted within each Vajra bus in the middle-right (on the side away from door).

No bus retrofits are necessary as the seats away from the wide door, being spring-loaded, will fold back automatically when not in use, facilitating bicycles storage & thus allowing sufficient space for boarding & alighting passengers.

All that's necessary is some publicity to get moving on the "bicycles-in-bus" initiative that includes a promotional charge, of say an additional Rs.15/- to carry a bicycle within the bus.

Based on the response, further steps could be taken.

BMTC meeting on 22nd.

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Report awaited.


BMTC meeting

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[comment moved to a new post in Bus Priority Project: See "

Meeting Report, Dec 22


Folding model from Decathlon

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For people who want to start cycling their last miles without waiting for BMTC to act on carrying cycles on buses, I guess the folding models might help. Saw this model in the decathlon cycling store. At around 16k, it is not very cheap!!! But, I guess there are cycling enthusiasts who would go with that price!

A review here


 One of the things that

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 One of the things that repeatedly come out in international experience is the lack of cycle lanes will deter people from taking their cycles regardless of how many people may want to. Safety on the streets is the most important criteria among people (especially educational institutions that seem to be the favourite target). Everything we seem to be saying & doing in these initial stages and in the pilots seem to be bypassing this aspect or paying scant regard to it.

Nice idea

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This is a good idea.  However if we take a notice of peak hour crowd in Vajra Buses,  I do not think it would be possible to accommodate so many bicycles.  However BMTC can start this as a Pilot project on week-ends.   BMTC should also look into providing good and safe bicycle parking facilities in the the TTMCs. 

First views of the Cycle hanger/deck on Vajra bus

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Bicycle carriers on Vajra Volvo buses in Bengaluru!

read more here http://www.mid-day.com/ne...

Photo by Harsha Varste.

awesome, thank you BMTC

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Look fwd to seeing them on more Buses. This is it. Going to sell my car now :)

Nice that this suggestion has

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Nice that this suggestion has also been implemented by them.

guess they hav been dismantled!

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This is a news piece from 2010 Nov. Acoording to what Murali says..its just 2 busses which have the stands..guess they removed it because they were not  being used or  maintenance issues(did the stand 'fork lift' an auto?;)..

Anyways would be gud to pursue with BMTC to get more of these back on street!

ah, not done

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Should have clicked on the mid-day link, these are old ones on BG Road Volvos. Need to ask around if they have moved on it.

If we can buy and take along 5-6 bike racks from Decathalon, that will hasten the process :)

Cycle racks on volvos come free!

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Cycles on volvo busses

BMTC Chief Traffic Manager (Operations) M P Prabhudas, said, “We need to look at the project on a larger scale. It does not involve any revenue hassle as it is provided free of cost to us by Volvo.”

I dont see any reason at all why BMTC should not be putting these up on all busses..