New Zealand has an extensive network of buses, and many of these now carry 2 or 3 bikes on the front. This ties in with the long term Government aim of NZ being as cycle-friendly as possible. This simple, easy to use ‘multi-modal’ solution is really popular with commuters, leisure, casual or occasional cyclists, and enables many more journeys to be made by bike.
Almost all of the Wellington Transit buses now carry 2 bikes on the front, using the popular Sportworks Velo-Porter 2 bus rack. They were introduced after an extensive trial period, when 6 buses were fitted with the bus racks for testing, on a very hilly route to the East of the city. The port city is surrounded by hills, so many cyclists are happy to cycle down, but getting back up is much more of a problem. The bus-rack solves this issue as cyclists can cycle across the city to the bus stop at the bottom of the hill, simply load their bike for the trip to the top, and continue onwards by bike from there.
Waiheke Island is just east of Auckland, and using a ferry, bus and bike is an ideal combination to explore this beautiful island, with its many lovely beaches and vineyards.
The island has an extensive and frequent network of buses, running an intensive service all across the island. These are operated by cycle-friendly Fullers, who also operate the Fastcat ferry service to Auckland. Almost all of the buses carry 3 bikes, using the Velo-Porter 3 model of bus racks, and these are popular with locals and the many tourists who visit the beautiful island.
Bikes are carried for free on the Fullers ferry, and buses, so many people get a Fastcat ferry from Auckland, then take their bikes on a bus to a far part of the island, then cycle back via vineyards or some of the many quieter beaches. Others set off from the ferry terminal by bike, then get a bus back from wherever they end up.
These large and spectacular waterfalls, have a regular bus service from Taupo and this has a 2 bike Velo-porter 2 bus rack.
As well as the spectacular waterfalls and gorge, this area has many volcanic sites, so a bike makes it possible to visit them without needing a car.
Auckland does not have buses carrying bikes as they are concentrating on other initiatives, like improving the network of bike paths, and the expensive skybridge over the river. However, they can be seen and used on Waiheke Island, nearby.
Almost all of the buses in Christchurch carry 2 bikes, using a variety of models of rack. They are used by cyclists commuting to work, for leisure, or for other activities like shopping or appointments.
After the major earthquake the Christchurch bus interchange was completely rebuilt, and they took the opportunity to accommodate cyclists using the bus rack, with a very innovative bus-station design.
All the buses in Nelson carry 2 bikes, using the Velo-Porter 2 bus rack. These are used extensively by commuters, but also by the many holidaymakers who visit the lovely town on vacation.
Other smaller towns in NZ also have the bus rack fitted.
People are most likely to use public transport when it's within a quarter of a mile walking distance or when it's within a three-mile biking distance. Making it easier for cyclists to take their bikes on public transport opens up a 12 times larger drawing catchment area.
Many commuters and cyclists are constrained by bridges, tunnels, steep hills and unsafe city streets. Being able to complete part of the journey by bus enables them to overcome these mobility barriers, encouraging more active travel and therefore exercise.
The bus rack is ideal for marketing and PR and demonstrates that the city, town or bus company are serious about promoting cycling and active travel within the community.
Offering a wider range of affordable green travel options reduces the need to make car journeys. This results in reduced congestion, quieter & safer streets, better air quality and improved wellbeing of local residents. This creates a positive environmental image of the public transport service.
In case of an emergency, such as vehicle breakdown, or if the weather is bad, travellers have another option of how to get to their destination.
Racks free up space that may otherwise have been taken up by bicycles within the bus, so there is more room for commuters. Buses are also kept cleaner as bikes are kept outside.
Bike trips can seamlessly be incorporated with public transport by providing robust racks - which is perceived as a real added value service by riders.
In the wake of the coronavirus there has been a huge uptick in cycling globally, with Governments actively encouraging it and investing in improvements to cycleways. Many workplaces also offer 'Cycle to Work' schemes that fund bikes that are used for the work commute. It's important that public transport services recognise this trend and become a part of it.
A driver's visibility is not restricted by carrying bikes on the front of the bus.