• Fri September 30 2005
  • Posted Sep 30, 2005
The folks at the Des Moines metro bus line want to make it easier for people to ride their bikes to work. So beginning Monday, buses on the regular, express and commuter routes will be equipped with bike racks. "We've been talking about this program for quite some time; it has been one of the more popular requests from riders," said Brian Litchfield, the bus authority's director of program development. Litchfield said about 16,000 passengers ride the buses daily. Ridership is up 2,000 in the last month due to higher gas prices. Bike racks on buses have been tried with success in other cities, including Portland, Ore., Litchfield said. Carl Voss, who is on a committee that studied the issue, said he presented the idea after seeing it in action elsewhere in the Midwest. "This is not necessarily for the hard-core bicyclist," Voss said. "This could be for someone who lives a half-mile from a bus stop." Voss, who rides his bike two miles to work, said the program will help people like him avoid bad weather on the morning two-wheel commute. Angie Dalton, who helps coordinate Bike to Work Day each May, said bus racks provide "just one less excuse not to ride." The nearly $50,000 program will equip 80 buses with racks for two bikes each. Rack-equipped buses will be displayed at metro area bike shops and the Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday to give passengers a preview. "This weekend is more of a show-and-tell demonstration," said Justin Sheldon, manager of Bike World Merle Hay, which will host a demonstration at 10 a.m. "It will help people avoid having their bike fall off the first time they put it on." The Bike and Ride program's one-time costs are financed primarily with federal money. Litchfield said the racks will be in place for the Monday morning commute. "I've conned my maintenance staff into working a long weekend," he said. "They'll be ready."

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