Is Cycles on Buses a Good Idea?

Cycles on buses in India

Cycles on Buses! That sounds like a fantastic idea, doesn’t it? Just that it isn’t, at least in the urban context! Here’s why.

Public transport is meant to move the most possible number of people at the least possible cost without sacrificing passengers’ comfort, time, or safety.

This means that the space inside buses must be optimally used to accommodate as many people as possible comfortably. This also means passengers should take as little time as possible to board safely and alight buses.

Cycles on buses are a problem on both these counts. (Folding cycles are a different story).

If taken inside the coach, cycles reduce the space for other people to use the service and make them. If stored on a rack in the front or the back of a bus, the time taken to mount and unmount cycles significantly delays the bus service for the remaining passengers. Cycle racks on buses are also a safety hazard for other road users.

Eventually, how many people stand to benefit? Potentially 3-5% of all bus riders. Much less in reality. At the cost of the rest.

How to integrate cycle with buses in three simple steps:

1. Secure cycle parking at stops and stations

2. An excellent cycle-sharing system, preferably with fare integration with public transport

3. And, most importantly, safe cycle paths.

These are the game-changers cities must invest in. And we must stop bothering with counter-intuitive ideas like cycles on buses.

This post was first published on Linkedin. To access it, click here.

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