It happened 24,096 times during 2013. That's how many times a bike rider strapped his or her bike on the front of a MATA bus to continue a journey.
MATA provided the figures Thursday (March 7th). They reflect a nearly eight percent increase over the prior year.
"It is impossible for MATA to have service up and down every street in the community both from a time and expense perspective," said Tom Fox, MATA's interim president and general manager. "The 'Bike and Ride' commuter is someone who wants to take advantage of public transportation but isn't necessarily within walking distance to a bus stop either from their point of origin or destination. With bike racks on every bus, we are able to safely and conveniently accommodate that customer.
All MATA fixed-route busses are equipped with bike racks on the front capable of carrying two bikes. The total environmental commute – where a rider leaves a point of origin on a bike, meets a bus at a regularly scheduled spot, and then completes the journey on the bike – is becoming a more and more popular activity. Based on their popularity, MATA is considering the purchase of higher capacity racks for additional bike-carrying capacity.
"With more and more neighborhoods in Memphis adding dedicated bike lanes, biking is becoming a major transportation and cultural attribute of Memphis," said Fox. "Bike and Ride makes those investments by the city even more valuable."
In 2009, the entire MATA fixed-route bus fleet was fitted with bike racks. The bike racks are self-service, easy to use and available year round. The racks are located on the front of each bus and can accommodate conventional two-wheeled bikes. Bikes are also allowed to be brought on MATA Trolleys. Each MATA Transit Center offers traditional bike racks for riders to store their bikes while using MATA services.
(For more information on Bike and Ride, visit www.matatransit.com/ridersguide/bike-and-ride.)