BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE TRANSPORTATION & HOUSING COMMITTEE BILL NO: ab 206 SENATOR MARK DESAULNIER, CHAIRMAN AUTHOR: dickinson VERSION: 4/1/13 Analysis by: Carrie Cornwell FISCAL: NO Hearing date: June 4, 2013 SUBJECT: Bus length limits DESCRIPTION: This bill allows the Sacramento Regional Transit District to install larger bike racks on its buses. ANALYSIS: Existing law limits the length of a bus to 45 feet. A public transit operator may equip its buses of any length with bike racks that extend up to 36 inches out from the front of its buses and which may be loaded such that the bike handle bars extend up to 42 inches in front of the bus. In no case, however, can the total length of the bus, the bike rack, and bikes total a length greater than 48.5 feet. In order for a transit agency to operate its 45-foot buses with bike racks (but not buses less than 45 feet), it must establish a route review committee that conducts a field review of routes where these buses would travel and consults traffic engineers from public agencies with jurisdiction over roads that the bus routes follow. Only when a route review committee by unanimous vote determines that 45-foot buses with front bike racks can operate safely on the selected routes may the public transit agency then operate such buses on those routes. The route review committee is comprised of: A representative of the transit agency appointed by the general manager of that agency; A traffic engineer from the public agency that has jurisdiction over the largest proportion of the transit agency's bus routes; and A representative of the bus drivers chosen by the labor AB 206 (DICKINSON) Page 2 organization representing the bus drivers. Existing law permits the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) and the Gold Coast Transit District both to install on their buses bike racks that extend up to 40 inches in front of the bus (i.e., an additional four inches), provided that the handle bars of the bikes loaded extend no more than 46 inches and subject to a specified review for 45-foot buses. The review is similar to that described above for installing bike racks on 45-foot buses generally, except that the route review committee also must include a member of the bicycling community who is appointed by the transit district's governing board, but who cannot vote. In addition, before the Gold Coast Transit District's (GCT's) route review committee votes to approve a route for these larger bike racks, it must receive certification from a licensed traffic engineer stating that all proposed routes are safe for travel for 45-foot buses equipped with 40-inch bike racks. Both of these districts must report to the Assembly Transportation Committee and this committee on any traffic incidents or accidents where the size of the bike rack was a factor, as well as a summary of the mobility improvements the bike racks provided. AC Transit's report is due on December 31, 2014, and GCT's report is due on December 31, 2017. This bill permits the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) also to install bike racks of up to 40 inches on its buses subject to the same requirements as for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit and Gold Coast Transit districts, including the requirement that a traffic engineer certify that all proposed routes are safe for these 40-inch bike racks on 45-foot buses. RT's report to the Assembly Transportation Committee and this committee is due December 31, 2018. COMMENTS: 1.Purpose . The author states that the number of bicyclists using transit in Sacramento has increased to the point that RT cannot accommodate many bicyclists who wish to ride RT's buses with their existing two-bike racks. He introduced this bill at the request of RT so it can run buses with bike racks that can hold three bikes when the route is safe for the required extra length. RT reports that it is eligible for a federal grant to provide AB 206 (DICKINSON) Page 3 three-bike racks. Because these racks when added to RT's buses extend four inches beyond what existing state law permits, RT has not applied for the grant. This bill should result in added assurance for bicyclists that there will be room for their bikes when they board the bus. Proponents note that increasing bicyclists' access to bus transit service extends the range from which transit users travel to and from the bus and will make RT transit service more attractive. 2.Previous legislation . AB 652 (Skinner), Chapter 369, Statutes of 2009, gave AC Transit authority to install 40-inch bike racks on its buses, including on its 45-foot buses but only pursuant to a vote of a route review committee. AC Transit reports that it never installed racks on any of its 45-foot buses but has installed 40-inch racks on about 50 of its 40-foot buses. It is tracking incidents and will be prepared to report on the racks on schedule next year. AB 652 served as a model for AB 2488 (Williams), Chapter 376, Statutes of 2012, which gave the same authority to Gold Coast Transit in Ventura County. This spring Gold Coast Transit installed three larger bike racks on its buses but none on 45-foot buses as it only owns 35- and 40-foot buses. 1.Another authorization for one district . This bill provides a third transit district with the authority to install 40-inch bus racks on its buses. It seems likely, however, that transit districts throughout the state are facing similar issues with more demand from bicyclists to board buses than supply of space in their bus bike racks. To some extent, design evolutions will address this issue as there are now available bike racks of under 36 inches that can accommodate three bikes. In addition, next year the Legislature will receive AC Transit's report on accidents related to and mobility improvements resulting from these bike racks. That report, however, will not include information on including larger bike racks on 45-foot buses nor will the Gold Coast Transit report due in 2017. By giving RT authority, this bill may result in the Legislature receiving information on the use of 40-inch bike racks on 45-foot buses. AB 206 (DICKINSON) Page 4 Assembly Votes: Floor: 76-0 Trans: 16-0 POSITIONS: (Communicated to the committee before noon on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.) SUPPORT: Sacramento Regional Transit (sponsor) Sacramento County Board of Supervisors Sierra Club California OPPOSED: None received.