A network of do-it-yourself bicycle repair stations continues to grow throughout the Tampa Bay area and District Seven. The newest station was recently installed at a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) bus transit stop located directly in front of the FDOT District Seven Office on McKinley Drive in Tampa. “Transit stops provide a great location and opportunity for bicyclists to perform any quick repairs that may be needed before they continue on their way,” Ricardo Feliciano, District Seven’s Mass Transit, TMOs and SSO Coordinator said. “With many transit riders using HART’S Bikes on Buses program, cyclists riding by the stop are expected and encouraged to make use of the free station.” The repair stations were purchased by the New North Transportation Alliance (NNTA) using Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds through contracts managed by Feliciano. STP funds secured by NNTA have been successfully used for bicycle infrastructure including racks and stations located throughout Hillsborough County.
“We listened to local bicyclists and found they needed safe locations to fix their bicycles and pump air into their tires,” said Julie Bond, co-Director of the New North Transportation Alliance and Senior Researcher at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
District Seven, NNTA and CUTR’s efforts play into the critical need regarding “last mile” connection between transit user and their final destination. The new bicycle repair stations contribute to making the first and last mile connection smoother by providing a convenient service right at the stop.
Every station is equipped with tools – including screwdrivers, wrenches, Allen keys, and a heavy duty air pump. The stations are very user-friendly, and make basic repairs and maintenance easy – from changing a flat tire to adjusting brakes. A bicycle can be suspended from the hanger arm, allowing pedals and wheels to spin freely while making repairs. A QR code conveniently located on the front of the station enables users to view detailed repair instructions using a smartphone. The stations have been well received by the public, and local bicyclists have taken to social media to express their thoughts. “What a GREAT idea to have repair stations at bus stops!” and “Thank you. . . I think this has really stepped our city up… I look forward to getting on a bike again and this helps reassure riders like me” were just a few of the comments on a photo of the new HART transit stop repair station posted on the Tampa BayCycle Facebook page.
Public safety is always a primary concern, and District Seven is very in-tune to the needs of the local transit agencies and passengers. The goal is to not only provide ‘first/last mile’ accessibility, but also have safer and more user-friendly modes to transport bikes on all types of transit buses. The district is looking for even more innovative ways to improve transit in the Tampa Bay Region and will continue to work on exceeding their goals for a state-wide approach.