The Washington Post recently reported that PG County is finally offering bike racks that other local transit agencies added over a decade ago. They are the last major transit bus system in the region to make this change.
Prince George’s transportation officials say the county is spending $116,000 to retrofit 91 of the system’s 93 buses with front-end racks that can accommodate two bikes. The installation, expected to be completed next month, answers the growing demand for an amenity that has become the norm elsewhere in a region of multi-modal commuters.
Metrobuses, for example, have had bike racks for years. The agency considered racks that could carry three bikes, but determined they were too long. It uses the two-bike version, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said.
The feature is so popular that bus riders with bikes often wait longer for rides to get a bus with an open slot on the rack. Metro estimates that hundreds of riders use the racks daily. (In 2009, the estimate was 650 people).
Why it took Prince George’s so long to make the move is unclear.
Paulette Jones, a county spokeswoman, said getting to the point of installation “has been a process and we are just very happy that it has come to fruition.” She said that while demand for bike infrastructure may be greater in other areas in the region that are more urban and more densely populated, “in Prince George’s County we are growing and the demographics is a community that is requiring more options.”
It was the addition of bike racks to Metro buses that made me feel like I could switch to bike commuting many years ago. I felt like it provided a SAG wagon for me, one that I only ended up using a few times.