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Monterey-Salinas Transit: What to do when bike racks on buses are full, plus other MST tips

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Many people take their bike on a large or small Monterey-Salinas Transit bus, or on an MST trolley—for example, the trolleys going between downtown Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row. MST Trolley 2023 service dates: May 27 through September 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.


How to do it?

Go to Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) website’s Transit Tips page,, then scroll down that page to “Bicycles on Buses” and “Bike Loading Instructions.” After reviewing MST’s info, see more tips below.
What to do when the bike rack is full on any small or large MST bus, or on an MST trolley?
At the driver’s discretion, you may take your bicycle inside the bus or trolley. If you do, it’s important to:
  • keep a firm grip on your bicycle
  • keep your bike out of the aisle
Why “at the driver’s discretion”?

Sometimes a driver knows that on that particular route, they will soon have, for example, someone boarding with a wheelchair, or a large number of passengers boarding, which would result in the bus being crowded.

MST beauty - longview - DSC00304

This post was first published on 7 September 2016 with numerous subsequent updates. It was republished 19 May 2023.

Most Monterey-Salinas Transit info below will remain relevant; however, for any updates, contact MST

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Check out “With proper planning, riding the bus in Monterey County is convenient, affordable and climate-friendly,” by David M. Schmalz,  Monterey County Weekly, Nov 20, 2021.

Taking a bicycle on an MST bus, or trolley

The bike-and-ride section of Bicycling Monterey’s Tips for Bicycling Monterey County 20-section guide includes many additional MST tips. It highlights some especially helpful MST features such as MST RealTime – a set of tools (text, phone, app, and maps) for real-time info about when the next bus will arrive.

Among tips in the guide is where to locate bike-related info on, i.e., MST Transit Tips has details about bicycles on buses (including restrictions regarding size and weight, e-bikes, gas-powered bikes, etc.) as well as bike loading instructions for using the MST bike racks.

Loading your bike on an MST bike rack is far easier than many people think.

And you bet, bicycles ride MST free (with a paying passenger).

Sometimes trolleys serve the route between Hartnell College Main and Alisal campuses in Salinas, the Monterey County seat and its largest city. For updates, contact MST.

Most Monterey-Salinas Transit info below will remain relevant; however, for any updates, contact MST.

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Bike lockers

Bicycling Monterey’s bike-and-ride section also provides tips about MST bicycle lockers at the Marina Transit Exchange and Salinas Transit Center.

Emergency Ride Home

Are you hesitant to bike-and-ride MST to work, or just ride MST to work without your bike, or even just bike to work—because you’re worried about the unexpected? As noted in Bicycling Monterey’s bike-and-ride section (and on Bicycling Monterey’s 33-section main resources page too): if you take MST or other “alternative transportation,” such as a bicycle, even one day a week, check out the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s Emergency Ride Home program.

Contact MST with your input

Bicycling Monterey appreciates every way that Monterey-Salinas Transit supports bicycling. MST now has bicycle racks on all trolleys and on all small and large buses—except the ADA Paratransit (RIDES) buses.

Let MST know if  you have other input.

Does MST only travel within Monterey County? 

[For updates, contact MST.] Check out the MST Route List and you’ll find, e.g., express service north to Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County as well as express service to San Jose in Santa Clara County. And since September 3, 2016, service south into San Luis Obispo County goes beyond Paso Robles all the way to Templeton; see details in 9/3/16 service changes. Such route changes are a great reason to check the MST news section now and then.

And that’s not all! As…

MST Wats - Salinas Transit Center 10 May 2011 - 033 (1)

this Australian mom and son…


and these San Francisco Bay Area friends know…

Derrick Chao and Kyle Ingebretson downtown Monterey 18 Dec 2010

MST has Transit Connections too!

Learn about San Mateo County, San Francisco, East Bay, Sacramento, and other connections, plus Amtrak and Greyhound connections. Visit MST’s Transit Connections page.
You may be surprised how far you can go using a variety of public transit, thanks to MST’s connections. Many if not all of those transit providers accommodate bicycles too; check with each provider to confirm, and for their details.

Special thanks to Zoe Shoats of Monterey-Salinas Transit for confirming the accuracy of Bicycling Monterey’s MST tips through 2016.

Scroll down for more MST posts…

Vera of VCM 12 Nov 2012 2439 (2)

Some MST posts on Bicycling Monterey 
Ray LaHood Jazzed About MST’s Rapid-Transit Monterey Jazz Lines
Jazz Rapid Transit: Linear Museum by Monterey-Salinas Transit
June 1-Aug 31: 18 or under? No car, no worries. A bike and $38 will get you nearly everywhere you need to go, thanks to MST’s Summer Youth GoPass

Bike and ride MST Jazz Line downtown Monterey

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This post was published on 19 May 2023.

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