Then I saw this item that the Santa Cruz transportation system is offering up to $250 rebates to commuters using folding bikes.
Now there's transit system with its head screwed on straight — using folding bikes as part of an integrated approach to increasing bus ridership and decreasing traffic and air pollution.
Air pollution grants
The Santa Cruz Area Transportation Management Association is making the grants in hopes of encouraging more people to use the bus, reports the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The money comes from a $67,000 grant from the Monterey Bay Air Pollution Control District.
Apparently Santa Cruz buses already are equipped with bicycle racks, but only hold two at a time which means they're often filled up. This folding-bike program gets more bike riders on the bus.
It will be interesting to see if this program — 13 have already signed on — turns out to be successful. I would hope that beleaugered transit systems around the country take a look at it. Seattle's metro buses already face a high demand for bus bike-rack space, especially on the routes crossing Lake Washington on the Highway 520 bridge.
Folding bike popularity
People who ride folding bikes swear by them. Although more or less conceived for getting around a city and stowing away in small spaces, I always see them at weekend bike rides and even the week-long Ride Across Washington.
Recently, BikePortland blogger Jonathan Maus reviewed a Bike Friday that comes with its own trailer that doubles as a bike box for airline travel. Also, Larry LaGarde at the RideThisBike blog regularly reports about folding bikes.
Steven M. Scharf, aka Dr. Folder, published an exhaustive study of folding bikes that he posted online a few years ago. It lists reviews and dozens of folding-bike manufacturers for comparisons.
For more information, see the Folding Bike Solution at Transit Alternatives website