JAMESTOWN - As part of a demonstration project and in an effort to encourage riders to be more active, Chautauqua Area Regional Transit System has recently installed bike racks on the CARTS buses that travel the two Dunkirk city fixed routes.
"Combining bicycling and CARTS to meet transportation needs can be a cost-effective and time-effective way for an individual to get where they need to go," said Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards. "The capacity to bring a bicycle on a bus increases the flexibility of both options. For example a rider may take the bus to work and then ride their bike home or vice versa."
"CARTS plans to review this concept over the next year to determine if this is a viable project that can be initiated on the city routes in Jamestown and the rural routes," said Cheryl Gustafson, Senior Project Coordinator of CARTS.
Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play is a New York State Health Department initiative to promote healthy lifestyles by increasing the availability and accessibility of physical activity and eating healthy foods. The Chautauqua County Health Network administers the program in Chautauqua County and the program has recently started working in the Dunkirk area.
Andrew Dickson, Built Environment Consultant for the Creating Healthy Places project, is pleased with the addition of bike racks to CARTS buses.
"One element of a healthy community is the ability to use active transportation like walking and biking," he said. "Equip-ping buses with bike racks increases the opportunity for residents to make part of their trip a more active type of transportation."
Paul Abram, Project Coordinator for CARTS said, "The bike racks hold two bikes and are very easy to use. The rider should always tell the bus driver that they are loading their bike and load from the curbside only. When the rider exits the bus at their destination they again should remind the driver that they will be removing their bike from the rack."
A Rodale Press survey found that Americans want to have the opportunity to bike to work instead of driving as 40 percent of those surveyed said they would commute by bike if safe facilities were available. According to the AAA Mid-Atlantic, the cost of operating a car for one year is approximately $5,170, whereas according to the League of American Bicyclists the cost of operating a bicycle for a year is only $120.
The 2007-2011 American Community Survey estimated that 17.7 percent of all households in the City of Dunkirk do not have a vehicle available and 43.8 percent have just one vehicle available, indicating that transportation needs are being met by a combination of public transportation, walking, bicycling, cab service or paying friends or family members for a ride. In the city of Dunkirk, 8.3 percent of the working population does not own a personal vehicle and 42.2 percent travel less than 10 minutes to get to work, indicating that bicycling could be a viable commute to work option for many.
CARTS encourages the public to try out the new bike racks and bicyclists to use safety by wearing a helmet and following the rules of the road. For more information please contact CARTS at 366-4500.