MassBike has a long history of working with the MBTA to expand bicycle access on their vehicles. Biking and transit are natural complements: if transit agencies provide bike access, they expand the number of potential passengers, while bicyclists gain access to economic, educational, recreational and other opportunities further from home. The MBTA understands this, and our advocacy resulted in two major milestones:
- The Blue Line Pilot Program of expanded bicycle access has been made permanent
- All MBTA buses are now equipped with bike racks (excluding electric buses)
Back in May of 2011, MassBike Executive Director stood next to then-MBTA General Manager (now Secretary of Transportation) Rich Davey as he announced the establishment of a pilot program to expand bicycle access on the Blue Line. The purpose of the program was to expand bicycle connections between East Boston and downtown, which is separated by Boston Harbor. The program added an hour of bicycle access on the Blue Line in the peak direction, and eliminated the restrictions entirely in the non-peak direction.
This effort was driven by youth in East Boston who wanted to be able to take their bikes downtown. We served as advisors, assisting the youth with the development of their proposal, and helping them with messaging and data collection. This project is a great example of how MassBike likes to operate – expanding local capacity to help communities achieve their own priorities. Today we can see the results of that strategy. After the successful completion of the pilot program late last year, the MBTA made the Blue Line changes permanent, with no fanfare.
Another major victory is the recent completion of equipping all buses in the MBTA fleet with a bike rack. 95% of MBTA buses can now carry bikes (buses that use overhead electrical lines are not included due to safety concerns). This is a major milestone for the agency, which seven years ago began equipping their vehicles with bike racks at MassBike’s urging. Finally, bicyclists can rely on buses having a bike rack when they need it!
You can find out more about taking your bike on the T here.
While these are major steps forward, we are by no means finished. We are still working toward expanded bicycle access on the other transit lines and commuter rail, the elimination of all bicycle restrictions on the T, and bike racks on all buses operated by the other transit agencies around the state. We thank the MBTA for continuing to make the transportation system more accessible to bicyclists, and we will continue working with them to improve access and safety for bicyclists.