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T to give cyclists a break on buses

250 bike racks to be installed

The MBTA announced plans yesterday to install 250 bike racks on buses operating out of the Charlestown bus garage.

The racks, which can hold two bikes each, will be installed next spring at the front of buses serving routes in Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea, Everett, Medford, Malden, Revere, Charlestown, Burlington, Lexington, Bedford, Belmont, Arlington, Waltham, Watertown, Allston, Brighton, Woburn, and Winchester.

It is a big jump for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which has 32 bike racks on cross-town buses operating in Boston. The estimated $255,000 cost of the installation will be funded by a federal grant.

''Welcome, bike owners, to the MBTA," T General Manager Daniel Grabauskas said in a press release. ''By giving people yet another reason to choose public transportation, we continue our efforts to attract more customers by making the system easier to use."

The move will also make the bus system widely accessible to bicyclists during all operating hours. Bicyclists are allowed to bring bikes on subway and commuter rail cars, but only during off-peak hours and under strict guidelines.

Dorie Clark, executive director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, said the bus racks will allow bikers to expand the distances they can cover and provide a safe ride home after a breakdown or during inclement weather.

''It's certainly a tremendous step forward for the MBTA," she said.

Mac Daniel can be reached at mdaniel@globe.com.

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