Bike And Ride

May 30, 2007 at 12:25pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

StarTran won’t be adding bike racks to buses any time soon, sez maintenance superintendent Glenn Knust. One reason is that the added 18” would make the buses too long to fit in the garage. It’s mind-boggling to think that there aren’t 18” to spare in the garage, but hey, whatever. The second reason makes more sense: at 2,500 bucks a pop, the cost/benefit ratio is a little out of whack. At $1.25 per bus ride, that would mean the racks would have to generate 2,000 additional rider trips just to pay for a single bike rack. That isn’t worth it. Not even close.

But hold on a second. $2,500 per bike rack sounds obscene, doesn’t it? After all, isn’t a bike rack basically just a simple metal frame, perhaps with a couple straps? I would think a suitable bike rack could be constructed for about fifty bucks in parts, plus labor. Right? Can Lincoln’s bike riding community explain to me where the extra $2,450 comes from?

Hat tip: foxspit

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The Comments

beerorkid May 30, 2007 at 1:47pm

I would guess since they are made to fold up and sturdiness needed would factor into the high price.  Also from what I hear only 2 bikes can fit on it.  It does seem to be a bit of a hefty price tag.

Although I support any bike friendly move from the city, I would prob not use the service.

hbrogan57 May 30, 2007 at 1:56pm

I would use the service.  I am a avid bicycle and would LOVE to be able to take the bus across town on windy or rainy days and then ride bike.  Weather permitting of course.  That much cash to lay out for a rack DOES seem high.  But to have yet another “study group” look at it seems a wast of money too.  Seems that the thousands spent on those could be spent to try one or two racks on buses to see how they work out.

Fletch May 30, 2007 at 2:02pm

I saw these in use in KC and thought they seemed like a good idea. Seriously, a smart person who runs a metal shop could devise such a rack for the buses that would be functional, would be strong, and could fold-up when not in use to help the garage problem, all for way less than $2,500.

hbrogan57 May 30, 2007 at 2:18pm

That’s true.  I have seem them in places like New York, Washington, DC, St. Louis and Columbia Missouri.  Seems to get a few more riders on the buses.  And it doesn’t appear that they are anything more than bent and welded steel with pads designed to fold.  Someone here locally could come up with a usable one and I am sure it woul be a LOT less than 2000.  Maybe that’s an idea for someone…..any takers????

Dave K May 30, 2007 at 3:37pm

The bus has been late a total of about 70 minutes the last 3 times I’ve ridden it.  So, if I had my bike with me, I’d probably just ride it to where I needed to go.

beerorkid May 30, 2007 at 4:21pm

that is pretty much the main thing.  We have an awesome trail system that is getting more and more connected.  Plus the town is pert near 10 miles wide from any direction.  For someone who would consider biking to where they need to be, that is not that bad.

I would think in a much bigger city it would be more appropriate and more utilized.  TMCO already does stuff for the city, I am sure they could make bike racks at a much lower cost.

foxspit May 30, 2007 at 9:51pm

I agree, a cost of $2,500 per bike rack is Halliburton-esque.  I don’t know where StarTran got its figures for that but I’m sure they could get racks put on the bus for a fraction of that amount.

Good idea to try it on a couple of buses first.

I have to wonder if StarTran just isn’t interested in doing this and exaggerated some numbers.  Really, only two people have ever requested bike racks on buses?  I find that hard to believe.  I also can’t believe the best estimate they have is $2,500 per bike rack.  Yikes.

I would love it if they would put racks on the buses.  They might be surprised how many people will use them.

beerorkid May 30, 2007 at 9:53pm

I called them and the lady seemed to have no clue what i was talking about.  i had to tell her that it was in the paper.  Really wish they had an email contact.

Mr. Wilson May 31, 2007 at 1:21am

beeorkid: Larry Worth has been good about responding to me via e-mail in the past. You can reach him at lworth at lincoln dot ne dot gov.

clb May 31, 2007 at 4:15pm

In college our newest buses had the fold up bike thingies. If a college could get them, I’m sure Star Tran could get them installed on their buses

hbrogan57 June 4, 2007 at 10:32am

Personally, I think that this is just yet another excuse to hire some “Study Group” so they have a reason to spend budget money.  That way they can request more for next year.  All they have to do is look at other college towns and cities of a relatively same size to see what type of ridership they could get.  Ah well….Your tax money hard at work…????!!!!

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