The first bike racks were installed on a select few of the former Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro Transit) buses in the late 1970s. This bike rack was initially purchased from a company in California and was quite expensive (around $1,000) for the time.
Originally, the racks were only on buses that traveled across the SR-520 Bridge because there are no bike lanes on the bridge.
In 1982, Metro’s machine shop re-designed the rack to facilitate easier removal and replacement when washing the buses. Also, Metro wanted to lower the cost because the biking public was lobbying for more routes that could provide bike service. Metro wanted racks on the outside of buses because managers thought there would be too many problems with bikes inside the coaches. Approximately 300 racks were manufactured in-house by Metro employees.
The commercial bike rack the transit system purchased in the late 1970s was actually a set design, but Metro employees made improvements to suit their needs. In 1982, machinist Bruce Hargin designed and built all the tooling necessary to produce the bike rack in-house and over the course of time did a great deal of the associated machine tasks necessary for production runs. A number of Metro employees during and since those early days have contributed with modifications and ideas. Machinist Dick Huggett, metal constructor Augusto Desimone, machinist Jim King, and machine shop chief Larry Whitney all contributed. When Whitney came to the machine shop in August of 1983, he implemented a change in the mounting method making the rack easier to remove and install. Metro stayed with the last generation rack until it quit building them in 1993.
At that time, Metro started looking for a commercial product that was better suited to the task and especially one that did not need to be removed every time the bus was washed. If the racks were not removed, they would be mangled in the wash and also damage the expensive oversize brushes in the washing unit.
Metro ultimately selected Sportworks in Woodinville to build a bike rack to the transit system’s specifications. This helped launch the private company into the bike-rack expert they are today. Sportworks’ bike racks are currently on buses in more than 400 cities.
From that point on everytime Metro ordered new buses a request for a bike rack was included in the bid. Today, all Metro buses are equipped with bike racks.
source : http://transit.metrokc.gov