FAQ: Commuter Benefits, Transit Benefits

People in Car Driving to WorkWhat is a pre-tax commute benefit?

The IRS Code, section 132(f), allows employees to use pre-tax salary towards their transit and vanpool commuting costs.

Commuter benefits, or transit benefits, are an employer-provided package that helps offset the cost for employees to get to work. Like a Health Savings Account, retirement plan and other benefits, commuter benefits are a tax-savvy, morale-boosting, mobility-centric way for employees and employers alike to choose smarter commute options and save money.

Commuter benefits include parking benefits, transit benefits, vanpool benefits and bicycle commuting benefits.

How does it work?

When an employee enrolls in a pre-tax commuter benefits program, they will provide the amount of their monthly commuting cost for transit and/or commuting-related parking up the monthly limits.

The tax-free commuting dollars are provided to the employee in a product, such as a voucher, smart card, debit card, etc., to cover all commuting options. Currently, employees can use up to $270 a month for transit, and the same amount for commuter-related parking.

Can this benefit the employer too?

Yes! By offering employees a pre-tax commuter benefits program, the cost of commuting deducted for employees reduces the amount of payroll being taxed.

What qualifies as transportation fringe benefits?

  • Commuter transportation in a commuter highway vehicle
  • Transit passes
  • Qualified parking
  • Qualified bicycle commuting expenses.

Is this a tax write-off?

No, it’s not.

Is the pre-tax transit and vanpool benefit the same as a transit or vanpool subsidy?

No. The pre-tax transit and vanpool benefit uses the employee’s own salary before taxes to pay toward the commute funding. A transit or vanpool subsidy is when the employer provides employees with a transit or vanpool benefit above and beyond the employee’s salary.

Are there benefits for cycling?

Earlier this year, a revamped Bicycle Commuter Act was introduced in the US House of Representatives. It would ensure bike commuters get pre-tax commuter benefits similar to those who drive and park or take public transportation to work.

In 2017, Congress eliminated a tax credit for bike commuters which allowed employers to reimburse workers as much as $20 per month, pre-tax, for bike commuting expenses.

If the bill passes, it will make the benefit a pre-tax benefit, allow employees to receive a bicycle benefit of up to 30% of the parking benefit, allow the bicycle benefit to be used in concert with the transit and parking benefits and add bike-shares as eligible for the benefit, clarifying that e-bikes are eligible.

What is vanpooling?

Vanpool is a perfect way to get to and from work for those who travel more than 15 miles to work one-way. Passengers share a ride in a van that seats five to 15 people and pay a monthly fee that covers the cost of fuel, insurance and vehicle maintenance.

Vanpooling helps reduce the number of vehicles on the road!

Is there a pre-tax benefit for vanpooling?

Yes! The IRS allows employers to withhold a set amount of employee’s pre-tax income for vanpool commuting costs. This lower’s the employee’s taxable income, which puts more money into their pocket.

Employees may also provide a monthly fare subsidy as part of the qualified IRS Transportation Fringe Benefit, under section 132(F) of the IRS tax code.

What are the tax benefits for Boulder County residents?

  • The University of Colorado-Boulder offers a $25 monthly incentive for employees who vanpool.
  • The City of Boulder offers a $20 monthly incentive for Boulder residents or employees who vanpool.
  • Boulder County offers a $70 monthly incentive for Boulder County employees who chose to vanpool as well as offering priority parking.
  • For vanpoolers within the North Front Range, and use VanGo, can receive up to $260 for commuting costs. The cost will be taken out of the paycheck prior to taxes.

What are the tax benefits for Broomfield County residents?

The City and County of Broomfield offers voluntary pre-tax savings plans to full-time and eligible part-time employees for health, dependent care and transportation expenses.

  • Broomfield County offers up to $225 per month, with no annual max, for vanpool or bus passes for its maximum annual contribution. Employee contribution is up to $225 per month.
  • For vanpoolers within the North Front Range, and use VanGo, can receive up to $260 for commuting costs. The cost will be taken out of the paycheck prior to taxes.

 

Commuting Solutions can help your business get started with a vanpool! For more information, contact us at info@commutingsolutions.org.

Resources:

Internal Revenue Service Taxable Fringe Benefit Guide

132(F) of the IRS tax code

24-Hour Flex

How to Store Your Beloved Bike: Tips and Tricks

Originally posted by porch.com

It is important to know how to store your bicycle. Here are some considerations when thinking about bicycle storage for your needs.

Types of Bicycles:

When planning your bicycle storage, consider what type of bicycles you will be storing:

  • Road bicycles are lightweight bicycles with skinny, low-tread tires. They are designed for fast travel on paved roads. If you commute, you will want a storage option that allows for quick retrieval and parking.
  • Mountain bicycles are heavy-duty bicycles with wide treaded wheels. They provide plenty of shock absorption suitable for riding unpaved trails. These bikes can get quite muddy, so outdoor storage may be preferable.
  • Electric bicycles are outfitted with a battery-powered motor, making cycling accessible for all. Whether storing indoors or outside, make sure you protect the motor of this type of bicycle from rain and wind.
  • Folding bicycles are a compact, commuter-friendly option that’s portable and easy to store. You may be able to get by with a simple rack or even a shelf to store this type of bicycle.
  • Recumbent bicycles are low to the ground and offer a unique silhouette to consider for your storage solution. They’re a great candidate for an outdoor bicycle shed or tent.

Do you have multiple types of bicycles to store? Will you get a new type of bicycle in the future? Plan ahead to save on installation costs.

Bicycle Storage Consideration:

There are a number of important factors to consider when planning your storage solution.

The size of your bicycles determines which storage options will minimize the space they take up. Consider both the frame and the size of your wheels. Depending on the space you have available, you may want to store your bicycle with the side flat against the wall, or vertically with wheels perpendicular to the wall.

The type of bicycle you own can also guide your decision. Do you own a road bike that you use to commute every day? Or do you own a mountain bike that you take out for weekend rides twice a month? Some storage options are more accessible than others.

Check the weight of your bicycles and make sure whatever option you select can provide the support it needs. Lightweight road bikes can be mounted on most hooks and walls. If you own a heavy mountain bike, you might want to consider a floor rack or a hoist with a high weight limit.

Will strangers have access to your bicycle storage area? If so, you will want to research security options to prevent theft. Chains and locks go a long way to protect your bicycle, but make sure you secure your wheels, frame, handlebars, and seat. Keep your bicycle covered for extra security through obscurity.

Wall and floor protection is another factor. This is an important consideration for tenants and homeowners alike. Tires can leave unsightly marks, and it only takes one wrong move to knock a hole in the drywall with a heavy bike. If your bicycle storage will have high traffic, try to install it in an area that can support it.

Will you store your bicycle indoors or outside? Both offer pros and cons:

  • Indoor storage keeps your bicycle better secured against the elements and from theft.
  • However, indoor storage can also increase the risk of damaging floors and walls. It is also inconvenient if you live on the second floor or higher of a building.
  • Outdoor storage ensures more room to keep your bicycle and less worry about the mess when engaging in repair and maintenance.
  • But outdoor storage also requires that you take steps to cover your bicycle and invest in a security solution.

Whether you live in a home or an apartment will determine what kind of storage you have at your disposal. You might prefer outdoor storage, but you simply may not have the option. This is where creative indoor solutions really shine.

Bicycle storage is something you can do yourself. It can be a fun weekend project that lets you exercise your creativity and craftsmanship. It’s a great way to free up space and help organize your bicycle repair workspace at the same time.

For expediency’s sake, you may want to hire a professional. A professional installer can ensure security and quality in a fraction of the time it takes to install by yourself.

Best Way to Store your Bicycle at Home or your Apartment:

There is a multitude of indoor storage solutions at your disposal. The best indoor storage is the one that promotes ease of use while ensuring minimal space usage.

Try a wall-mounted storage hook. This lets you display your bike in the hallway or in a room while minimizing its space profile. You can also use a storage hook in the garage to keep your bicycle out of the way of your car.

A bicycle storage wall provides room to stack multiple bikes in the same area. This is a great solution for households with multiple riders, or for the avid collector.

If you have a room with high ceilings or a garage, you can store your bicycle high on the wall with a hoist and pulley system. This is an intriguing space-saving solution that makes it easy to retrieve your bicycle when you need it.

For the best space-saving option, outdoor storage solutions are the way to go. A parking rack offers a classic organizational system with a chic urban feel. Standing wall racks let you stack multiple bikes vertically.

A covered balcony combines the space-saving convenience of outdoor storage with the protection and security of indoor options. You can even use your balcony as a repair and maintenance area with the addition of shelving and tool racks.

For maximum security outdoors, look into installing a bike storage shed. Not only will this prevent theft, but it will also protect your valuable bikes from rain and wind damage. Wood options are relatively lightweight and durable. Metal options provide superior impact resistance for high-wind situations.

If you’re looking for a minimalist solution, try these low-fuss options:

  • A simple kickstand attachment keeps your bicycle standing upright.
  • A gravity rack leans against the wall and uses the force of gravity to secure your bicycle.
  • A floor rack organizes one or multiple bicycles in a standing position.

Looking to add that extra-special touch to your decor? Get creative by using your bicycle rack as a statement piece.

  • An upright storage solution can work as a room divider to section a larger space. Use in a large living room to form multiple areas for dining and socializing. It makes an incredible conversational piece for friends and family.
  • Take advantage of high ceilings and turn your bicycle into a crowd-wowing display item with wall brackets mounted high on the wall. This is an excellent option for collectors with rare rides to show off.
  • Display your bike above your bed or dresser for a charming addition to your bedroom decor. Enthusiasts will love the opportunity to showcase a vintage bicycle, or to keep a treasured possession close by.

Your bicycle can remain relatively clean indoors, but dust can build up on moving parts and hinder smooth operation. A textile cover is a fantastically simple solution to extend the maintenance of your bike indoors. Outdoor solutions include waterproof tents and sheds sized for your bicycle.

Core Bicycle Repair/Maintenance Items:

Some storage solutions provide extra space for repair and maintenance essentials. This maximizes convenience and makes repair accessible. Be sure to include these items in your storage repair kit.

  • A floor pump with a pressure gauge lets you swiftly inflate your tires with just the right amount of air.
  • Hex wrenches in different sizes let you remove and adjust bike components in a jiffy.
  • A selection of brushes and rags work to remove grime and oil that build up with daily use.

Bonus: For the passionate competitor

Want to boost your accomplishments in a unique way? Put your race bibs, medals, and trophies on display for all to see.

  • A standard hook rack lets you hang medallions with ease.
  • A specialized bib and medal display option consists of a panel to showcase your race bibs along with a series of staggered hooks for hanging medals.
  • Make your own medal rack from everyday items. You can use a tie rack, an ornament tree, or construct your own with hooks screwed into a wooden dowel.
  • A hook rack with a display shelf on top provides a handy home for your treasured award, while medals dangle below from the row of hooks.
  • A standing shelf gives you plenty of space for all your trophies, while bibs can be displayed in easel-back photo frames as a charming complement.

Bicycle storage doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many options available to suit everyone. Whether you’re a casual rider, a daily commuter, or a weekend warrior, your bicycle will benefit from a dedicated storage solution. Prolong the life of your bicycle and protect your treasured possession with a storage solution customized to your lifestyle.

Originally posted in Porch.com

Bike Safe Around Transit This Summer and Always: Guest Post from Lindsey Alarcon, RTD

Collage of Bike Safety ElementsIt’s no secret that Coloradans love the great outdoors. As the weather warms up, more people get outside and utilize bikes for recreation and transportation. With more bikes on the road this summer, The Regional Transportation District, (RTD) is encouraging cyclists to ride safely around transit.

RTD bus and train operators see unsafe cyclist behavior daily, some of which leads to near misses—incidents that did not result in injury or damage, but had the potential to do so. This behavior includes ignoring warning devices at rail crossings, passing buses on the right and being distracted by headphones, to name a few.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Our operators are responsible for getting people to their destinations safely. Bike riders are responsible for following the rules of the road, including using caution when riding near buses and trains. Following these tips will ensure cyclists interact with RTD operations in the safest way possible:

• Ride in the same direction as traffic and follow traffic signs and signals.
• Stay alert and avoid using electronics while riding.
• Use hand signals to inform drivers and pedestrians of your movements.
• Avoid riding in bus blind spots—if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you.
• Always walk your bike through stations and on train platforms.
• Never pass a bus on the right as they frequently pull over to pick up passengers.
• Ride at a 90-degree angle when crossing train tracks.
• Dismount your bike and wait for gates arms to fully rise before crossing train tracks.

RTD invites you to learn more about bike safety this summer. Check out our Bike-n-Ride page for more information or request a bike-safety presentation from me via email. Ride safe out there!

About the Author:

Headshot of Lindsey Alarcon, RTD

Lindsey Alarcon is the Senior Specialist of Safety Communications for the Regional Transportation District (RTD), where she works with metro-area communities to promote transit safety. Before joining the agency, she managed community outreach for Concentra Urgent Care. Lindsey graduated from San Diego State University with a marketing degree. Contact Lindsey at lindsey.alarcon@rtd-denver.com.

A Guide to Cycling in the Northwest Metro Region

Bike to Work Day is almost here which means its time to shift gears and talk about all the amazing cycling resources available in the northwest metro region. From paved to soft-surface paths, bike share, wayfinding and more, our region is a haven for cyclists (and not just because of our unbeatable views!).

The US 36 Bikeway

The Northwest metro region is home to the US 36 Bikeway and with the backdrop of the Flatirons in Boulder, its easy to see why it’s such a popular bike path. The bikeway stretches from the south end of Boulder at Table Mesa Station to 80th Avenue in Westminster. The 18-miles of paved bike path provide the perfect alternative to being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on US 36. This year alone the US 36 Bikeway has already counted over 100,000 trips.

Bike-n-Ride Shelters

Perfect for our commuters who want to take advantage of a multi-modal bus and bike commute, the Bike-n-Ride shelters located across our region provide a safe place to store bikes at RTD stations. Users must apply for an RFID card online to gain access to the shelter. The shelters provide long-term, secure and weather-protected bicycle storage for commuters making connections to and from local or regional transit routes.

Currently, you can find shelters at the following locations:

  • 8th & Coffman, downtown Longmont
  • Hover Street & Highway 119/Diagonal in Longmont
  • US 36 & Table Mesa Station
  • Downtown Boulder Station – Walnut and 14th Street
  • US 36 & McCaslin Station – Superior (Eastbound side)

Later this summer, we will be working with RTD to construct two new Bike-n-Ride shelters: one at US 36 & Broomfield Station and one at US 36 & Sheridan Station.

Wayfinding

A vital element to making our region easily accessible and navigable to cyclists was the implementation and installation of wayfinding signage along the US 36 corridor. Our local governments worked together to make sure that it was easy for residents and visitors alike to explore our region. In December of 2018, the uniformed branded wayfinding sign were installed along the corridor.

Bike Share

Want to explore our region but aren’t ready to commit to buying a bicycle? Give one of our bike share programs a try! Bike share programs such as Zagster and Boulder BCycle are innovative systems that give users the ability to pick-up a bicycle at any of the self-serve bike stations and return the bike to any of the bike stations in the area.

Zagster is currently operating throughout the city of Longmont, while Boulder B-Cycle operates in the city of Boulder. It’s a great way to get out and explore a new city while getting some exercise!

Bike Northwest Map

Before heading out for a ride, make sure you know where you’re going with our Bike Northwest Map. This map is the result of a collaboration with our local governments in an effort to make a regional bike map that spans from Westminster all the way to Longmont.

The online version of the map comes with layers that you can play with to find your perfect ride. Do you want paved paths or maybe you want to avoid street riding? Just choose the layers that work for your perfect ride and the map will do the rest from there.

Bike to Work Day

In 2018, our region cycled 610,661 miles and saved 265 TONS of CO₂. Help us shatter our record by participating in 2019 Bike to Work Day! There are breakfast stations to stop by throughout the region where you can get a free breakfast and cup of coffee while getting to celebrate all the cyclists in our region. We can’t wait to see you out there!

Top 8 Reasons We Love Transit in the Northwest Metro Region (And You Should Too!)

There are so many reasons to love where we live. The unparalleled access to nature, the booming economy, the amazing local culture… the list goes on. One of the lesser mentioned reasons is that we have an amazing and varied transit system. While we are primarily served by the Regional Transportation District and their services, we benefit from local services in Boulder, the FLEX service by TransFort and so much more. Take a look at why we love transit in our region!

The Flatiron Flyer:

There is no easier, quicker or relaxing way to go from Boulder to Denver or vice versa than the Flatiron Flyer. Between the schedule-free service, the comfortable seats and the US 36 Express Lanes, there is no longer any reason to deal with driving alone on US 36. Another perk of the Flatiron Flyer? With ample parking available at the stations along the corridor, you no longer have to worry about finding a parking spot at your final destination, which for those of us who hate parking in Denver is the most invaluable perk of all.

SportsRide: BuffRide, BroncosRide & More:

When planning to attend any major sporting event, professional or college, there is the inevitable discussion surrounding who’s going to drive and where to park that won’t cost an arm and a leg. With RTD’s variety of game day services, the only question that needs to be asked is what time are we catching the bus. It’s a great way to enjoy the region’s diverse sporting activities without worrying about how you’re going to get there.

The On-Demand FlexRide Service:

One of the best services that RTD has to offer in the northwest metro region is the FlexRide service. It’s RTD’s reimagining of the former Call-n-Ride service. You can now order a ride up to 10 minutes in advance or schedule a regularly occurring trip. All of the vehicles are fully accessible, and the service continues to provide seamless connections between services and final destinations.

 

RTD & Innovation:

We are fortunate to be served by RTD, an organization that wants to bring the best and newest innovations to its users. That’s why this year alone RTD has announced partnerships with Lyft and Uber, that will allow users of the app to see transit options in the Lyft and Uber This will make it easier to plan and pay for multimodal trips throughout the region. RTD has also launched its first Autonomous Vehicle (AV) pilot program to work on integrating the new technology into their service offerings.

SkyRide to DEN:

Next time you have a trip planned, let RTD take care of getting you to the airport. The AB, AA, AT and A-Line services connect travelers from all over the Denver metro region to DIA with ease. For the northwest metro region, there is no faster way to get to the airport than by hopping on the AB service and letting RTD do the driving. You get to avoid traffic and paying for parking. Plus, you are dropped off right at the terminal. It couldn’t be easier!

The B-Line:

The B-Line is the first commuter rail service to connect Union Station in Denver and Westminster Station, constructed as part of the RTD FasTracks project. Westminster Station is located at 69th Avenue and Grove Street with the station and transit plaza designed to be the central hub within the surrounding 135-acre transit-oriented development area. The service serves nearly 1800 riders a day and is an easy way to commute into Denver.

FLEX Your Commute:

Another great service available to commuters in the northwest metro region is the FLEX route which connects Fort Collins to Boulder. The bus comes equipped with WiFi, charging ports and only cost $1.25 one-way! The route stops in Loveland, Longmont and Berthoud. For your next trip between the two cities, give the FLEX a go!

Bustang on I-25:

The Bustang is CDOT’s Interregional Express (IX) bus service, connecting commuters along the I-25 corridor from Fort Collins all the way to Denver on its North Line. Each Bustang coach is equipped with a restroom, bike racks, free WiFi, power outlets and USB ports.

 

Going Dockless: The Future of Bike Share

David “DK” Kemp has been putting people on bikes since 1997. Following an illustrative career as a bike shop salesman, DK moved on to conceptualize and implement the Tour de Fat event series with New Belgium Brewing from 2000-2004.  From 2006-2012, DK served as the Bicycle Coordinator for the City of Fort Collins and helped move the community from a silver to platinum level bicycle friendly community.   In 2012, DK moved to Davis, CA to become the city’s first Active Transportation Planner.  DK moved back to Colorado in late 2014 to serve as a Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Boulder where he now specializes in multimodal infrastructure design and programming and was instrumental in bringing dockless bike share to Boulder.   

What is Dockless Bike Share?

Dockless bike share is a start-up bike share system where people can rent bikes without having to check them in or out of an established docking facility, similar to today’s Boulder’s B-Cycle system. Bikes can be rented wherever they are found by using a smartphone app or digital screen located on the bike. After an individual is done riding a bike, they park it at their location and check it out to make the bike available to others.

The advent of dockless bike share technology has recently taken the U.S. by storm and the industry is very quickly evolving and changing each day.  Cities throughout the U.S. have scrambled, and in some cases, even struggled with how to regulate this fast paced industry.

While in theory, the concept of dockless bike share makes sense in order to provide people greater accessibility to bicycles; however, the ability for a bike to be parked in, or moved into, the public right of way without a managed approach presents significant issues in the way of safety for pedestrians and other cyclists.  Some dockless bikes can be parked and left anywhere, and that’s precisely the issue- they can be parked anywhere.

Dockless bike share technology can be separated into two fundamental categories:  “self-locking” and “lock-to.”  Self-locking technology enables the bike to lock only to itself before and after each use.  Lock-to technology incorporates an integrated locking mechanism that enables the bike to be locked to a fixed structure, such as a bike rack.

Bringing Dockless Bike Share to Boulder

In 2017, numerous dockless bike share operators hoping to conduct business in the city approached the City of Boulder.  Following an extensive research process and coordination with the National Association for City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the City of Boulder adopted an ordinance in June 2018 to regulate the industry in Boulder through a licensing program.  The ordinance requires all operators provide “lock-to” technology on their bicycles and the bicycles to be locked to a bike rack before and after each use.  To offset existing public bike parking, the ordinance also requires that one bike rack per bike deployed be provided.

This approach greatly avoids the potential safety issue associated with bikes parked freely in the public right of way while taking advantage of the benefits associated increased accessibility to bike share for community members. As is stands today, some operators are able to adhere to the City of Boulder’s regulations, while others are not.

In July 2018, NACTO released, “Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation.”  This comprehensive guide provides information for agency officials who are exploring the merits and feasibility of dockless bike share in their community: https://nacto.org/home/shared-active-transportation-guidelines/

For more information on the City of Boulder’s program, please visit: https://bouldercolorado.gov/transportation/dockless-bike-share

Or, contact Dave “DK” Kemp, Senior Transportation Planner for the City of Boulder

dk@bouldercolorado.gov

 

 

E-Bikes to Extend Access to US 36 Bikeway and Beyond

 

Electronic bikes (e-bikes) are positively impacting the ability for commuters to cycle to work every day. At the beginning of 2016, Commuting Solutions convened government staff from Boulder, Boulder County, Louisville, Superior, Broomfield and Westminster to encourage local communities to adopt electronic bike ordinances that would enable e-bikes to be used along the US 36 Bikeway and other local cycling facilities. Commuting Solutions supports e-bikes due to the ability to ride further, tackle tougher terrain and increase accessibility to the US 36 Bikeway for all ages and abilities.

The US 36 Bikeway is 18 miles long and connects communities throughout the northwest metro region. Not only does it connect businesses to their employees, but makes cycling to work a safe commute option. E-bikes allow cyclists to travel farther than they normally would and eventually play a leading role in encouraging more commuters to try commuting by e-bike along the US 36 Bikeway, creating another viable commute option.

E-bikes not only help commuters travel further, it also increases a rider’s ability to travel across challenging terrain that would otherwise be too difficult. To put this into perspective, the US 36 Bikeway has a 700-foot elevation gain when riding Davidson Mesa going in and out of Boulder. This can be a challenging climb for an experienced rider and daunting task for a novice cyclist. E-bikes allows cyclists to decide when they want to pedal and when they need an extra power boost.

Expanding city ordinances along the US 36 Bikeway to allow e-bikes would mean increasing access to cycling for all ages and abilities. The northwest metro region is nationally recognized for the progress along the US 36 Corridor and this includes the US 36 Bikeway. The US 36 Bikeway is an incredible treasure for our communities. Commuting Solutions is committed to increasing access to the bikeway so more people can not only enjoy their ride, but connect to our communities along the way.

We are pleased that Louisville city council recently approved an e-bike ordinance and the jurisdictions of Broomfield, Westminster and Boulder County are in the process of doing the same.  In addition, a state bill passed the legislature this session which enables e-bike usage unless a community opposes it.  This is exciting progress for the state and for the cycling industry to make Colorado more accessible for all users.

For more information about the US 36 Bikeway and to view our online map, visit commutingsolutions.org.  The 2017 Bike Northwest print map will be available in June; email us at info@commutingsolutions.org to have a map mailed to you.  Ride on!

Commuter to Watch: Brianna Connelly

Brianna lives in Wheat Ridge and commutes to Broomfield using the Flatiron Flyer and her bicycle. Her employer made it easy to hop on board with an EcoPass. One day, her bus driver pulled over unexpectedly to re-secure her bicycle on the bus rack – a thoughtful move that kept her bike from becoming road kill. Brianna adds, “When I ride the bus I can read, relax, and crochet. Best of all, there’s no road rage!”

Commuter to watch: Pietro Simonetti

blog_1200x745_pietro

Pietro lives in Westminster and commutes to Superior, riding the US 36 Bikeway three to four times a week. When the cars on US 36 are backed up and he’s going faster than all of them, you can bet he’s got an ear-to-ear, bugs-on-teeth grin as he pedals ferociously. Adds Pietro, “There’s nothing better than riding to work on a crisp day with the sun over the horizon and the white mountains in the distance. Everyone should join in!”

Improving the Speed of Transit one Bike-n-Ride Shelter at a Time


You may be wondering, “But wait, I am a non-cycling transit rider, how do Bike-n-Ride shelters affect me?” These secure, covered structures keep the wheels of transportation moving by eliminating (or significantly decreasing) the need to load bikes on buses and thus increase overall operations.

Cycling is one of the best ways to make a first-and-final mile connection – it’s environmentally friendly, cost-effective and provides remarkable health benefits, but what happens as more people opt for this connection?  Racks on buses will become overcrowded (meaning cyclists have to wait for the next bus) and the loading/unloading process will delay service for all passengers.

Bike-n-Ride shelters are key to maintaining a consistent schedule and offer a unique opportunity for cyclists. Just imagine being able to park one bike at the US 36 and Sheridan Station, bus to Boulder and pick up a second bike at the US 36 and Table Mesa station. With Bike-n-Ride shelters at each US 36 station, options such as these will soon become a reality.

With all of these pluses, it is no wonder that Bike-n-Ride shelters are the number one recommendation from the US 36 First and Final Mile Study (2013) – a study that assesses what enhancements could be made to improve US 36 transit connectivity. The study has guided our efforts for the past three years and currently has us working alongside RTD to secure funding for seven Bike-n-Ride shelters in Broomfield, Westminster and Boulder.

Bike-n-Ride shelters are key to streamlining and expediting service for the over 14,000 transit riders who travel the corridor each day. Without a consistent level of service that is frequent and reliable, it is likely those numbers will decrease. So, the next time you are on the bus, take a mental note of the time spent loading/unloading bikes and calculate how much faster the service would be with this one simple elimination, I think you will be surprised.