Note: This entry is being cross-posted by Patrick McAtee from the Verdis Group blog. Patrick is president of Omaha Bikes and is also a senior associate at Verdis Group, a company that integrates sustainable solutions to help organizations flourish.
Omaha's Metro Transit rolled out bike racks on its buses in September 2008. The racks were installed on every bus in the fleet using federal stimulus money. Every bus is equipped with a rack that can carry up to two bikes, and there is no extra charge to use them. If you've never used the racks, you can find "Bike & Ride" instructions on Metro's website.
Metro has been tracking how many bikes it carries since it installed the racks, and the data is staggering. When looking at year-to-date numbers through June, 2012 has seen nearly twice as many bikes on the racks as 2011, and Metro buses have already carried more bikes so far in 2012 (7,269) than in all of 2010 (7,021). The graph below shows the number of bikes on the bus racks from January through June in the past four years:
(link to download: Metro Transit Rack Use YTD Comparison)
Three of the four highest-use months in the past four years were April 2012 (#4), May 2012 (#1), and June 2012 (#2). If past years are any indication, the rest of 2012 should also be phenomenal. The graph below shows monthly bike rack use for the past four years. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, use of the racks peaked in August or September. May 2012 appears to have been a peak (2012 is the first year that June was lower than May). However, with the continued heat wave and more and more individuals familiar with how to use the racks, I expect we'll see, for the first time, a month with more than 2,000 bikes by the end of the year.
(link to download: Metro Transit Rack Use Monthly Comparison)
Keep on riding and thank you to Metro for supporting multi-modal transportation options!