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Commuters can have it both ways with first bike racks added to buses in Wellington

Commuters can have it both ways with first bike racks added to buses in Wellington

You can now cycle to work and ride the bus home, with the first bike racks added to Wellington buses.

bike racks

It has been a six-year wait but commuters will be able to load their bikes on buses between Newlands and Courtenay Place from October 3.

The new racks are part of a six-month trial run by the Greater Wellington Regional Council, in partnership with Mana coaches.

The outcome of the trial will determine whether racks are included on all Wellington buses.

More than 150 trips per week will be made by the six buses equipped with racks between October 3 and March 31 next year. Timetables will be released on September 28.

The bike racks carry two bikes at a time on a first come first served basis. Newlands routes 52, 54, 55, 56, 57 and 58 will have space for two bikes on the front.

Regional council deputy chairwoman of the sustainable transport committee Sue Kedgley said the trial was "a great way to combine cycling and public transport".

"It has taken a long time, but I am expecting it will be successful.

"Given the huge increase in cycling in Wellington it just seems to me it will be successful."

GWRC sustainable transport manager Melanie Thornton said studies had shown an increase in public transport use when bike racks were added to buses.

The racks would give commuters greater flexibility and the option to ride to work and take the bus home.

Bikes are currently allowed on train networks but only folding bikes can be carried on buses.

The popularity of the bike racks will be monitored and results from the trial will be used to tweak any roll out across the network.

The Newlands route was specifically selected for the trial because it covers both the hilly suburbs and the bustling CBD.

Thornton said bike racks were not expected to cause additional delays on the Golden Mile but commuters would be asked to load bikes only when buses were at the front of the bus queue.

"Wellington is very well suited to taking bikes on buses," Cycle Aware Wellington spokesman Alistair Smith said.

He expected more people would end up catching the bus if they knew they could stash their bike on the front.

Although it may take a while for bike racks to catch on, the full benefits would be felt when bike racks were extended across the network, he said.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has included the installation of bike racks on all buses in 2017-2018 in their Long Term Plan.

If the roll out goes ahead the council will fund the cost which has been estimated at $1 million. Currently one mounted bike rack costs about $1500.