2014-07-03 / Sports

BATA offers rides for bikes, riders to Heritage Trail

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff


BIKE-N-RIDE customers prepare to disembark a Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) bus. BATA this week expanded Bike-n-Ride service to include the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. BIKE-N-RIDE customers prepare to disembark a Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) bus. BATA this week expanded Bike-n-Ride service to include the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. The Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) this week expanded its “Bike-n-Ride” service to accommodate bicyclists using the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

Last summer, BATA introduced the seasonal bike transportation program to serve the Leelanau Trail which runs between Traverse City and Suttons Bay.

The “Bike-n-Ride” program allows bicyclists to carry their bikes aboard BATA buses so they only need to ride their bikes one way or the other on a trail, not both ways.

According to BATA officials, their “Bike-n-Ride” program is one of very few such programs in the U.S. and serviced 477 bicycles in its first two months of service in Leelanau County during July and August of 2013.

On Monday, BATA added “Bike-n- Ride” service to its Traverse City- Glen Arbor/Empire Village Loop (Route 11). The service allows for riders to bike the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail and ride the bus to any other stop along the route.

“In addition to offering fun leisure activity, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is intended to be a meaningful transportation alternative,” said Tom Ulrich, deputy superintendent of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

“The new ‘Bike-n- Ride’ route makes it even easier for visitors to leave their cars behind, reducing carbon emissions, easing parking congestion and keeping the park picturesque and welcoming for future generations,” Ulrich was quoted as saying in a BATA news release.

Bike-n-Ride service along the Leelanau Trail on the Traverse City- Suttons Bay-Northport route began June 16 and will continue through Aug. 31. The service on the Traverse City-Glen Arbor-Empire route began Monday and will continue through Aug. 31.

One-way bike trips are approximately 17 miles between Traverse City and Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Trail, and 11 miles between Glen Arbor and Empire on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

Riders are charged a $3 per-person fare that can be paid on the bus in cash or with a BATA fare card. Specially equipped Bike-n-Ride buses allow for 11 bikes to be transported — at no cost.

For the Suttons Bay-Northport Loop route, BATA provides everyother hour Bike-n-Ride service on weekdays beginning at 5 a.m. and ending at the Hall Street Transfer Station in Traverse City at 7:50 p.m. For the Glen Arbor-Empire Loop route, weekday service will allow for three runs. The weekends offer three runs per loop route.

Complete schedules with a map can be found at bata.net/bikenride online or by calling BATA at 941-2324.

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