It’s taken 12 years, but TriMet has finally added capacity for three bikes to their buses. Well, some of them at least.
We learned today that the design of the agency’s five new electric buses allows them to use a three-bike front rack. The new rack made its debut an event in Pioneer Square today.
This is a big deal because the existing two-bike racks often fill up and there’s plenty of public demand for more room. And it was way back in 2007 that we first reported TriMet was interested in finding a three-bike rack that would work.
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The new rack is the “Trilogy” model made by Sportworks(the same company TriMet uses for other racks). According to them, the rack’s support arm will fit bicycles with wheel sizes from 20 to 29 inches. The trays can support bikes with a wheelbase of up to 44-inches and tires up to 3 inches wide.
Back then, the agency said the problem was that the added width of a third rack would make the turning radius of buses (a.k.a the “dynamic envelope”) too wide.
A source at TriMet said the key to making this work on the new buses is the nose design — which affects the turning radius. The length between the operator’s steering wheel and the forward edge of the two bike rack (while in use) is the same length as between the steering wheel on the electric bus and the front edge of the three-bike rack.
Just one of TriMet’s new buses is in operation (on Line 62 in Beaverton). A second one is due to be in service by the end of the month and the remaining three are still en route to Portland. It remains to be seen if the five additional electric buses will work with the new racks.
Hopefully TriMet can figure out how to fit these racks onto more buses in the future.
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