Bike Capacity to Increase on Capitol Corridor Trains

Cap_Corridor_Bike_Rack.jpgFlickr photo: Cheryl and Rich

Caltrans and the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA) have announced an increase in bicycle capacity on the nation’s third-busiest Amtrak line, which serves 16 stations spanning eight Northern California counties, after a survey of riders found that nearly nine percent, or 150,000, of its estimated 1.7 million annual rail passengers rides bicycles.

From the press release:

"Due to a dramatic increase in the use of bicycles on the Capitol Corridor trains, all 14 of the original 1995-era cab cars have been retrofitted to accommodate an additional four bicycles on the lower level," CCJPA Chair Jim Holmes said. "These new bike racks are in addition to the three bicycle racks that already exist on the cab cars. When we combine the retrofit cabs with the five newer, 2002-era cab cars, which utilize wall-mounted storage racks to accommodate 13 bicycles, it provides about 130 more racks each weekday to help accommodate the hundreds of cyclists who bring their bikes on board."

Once funding is secured and a retrofit is complete, Holmes said at least one cab car on each train should be able to accommodate up to 13 bicycles "plus an additional three on all coach cars." All in all, bicycle capacity will increase by 34 percent.

Capitol Corridor spokesperson Luna Salaver said she hasn’t heard of bicyclists getting bumped because of overcapacity, which happens all the time on Caltrain, but says agents usually work with them to find space.

"We have to think of our passengers who are mobility-impaired. There has to be room in the first level of the cab car for someone to negotiate in a wheelchair or some other mobile device," she said. "But we try to accommodate [bicyclists] even if it means the [bicycle] has to go in areas typically used for luggage."

Capitol Corridor, on its website, says it is "committed to helping achieve greater environmental sustainability for a
healthier planet. We believe in getting more cars off the highways and
more people onto the train." The latest passenger survey (PDF), conducted in June, found that 64 percent of riders get to stations by car, but 34 percent would consider riding a bicycle. The majority of riders live in Sacramento, Alameda, Placer, Yolo and Contra Costa counties.

  • The Capitol Corridor has so much potential to become a major player in Northern California transportation. It’s great to see them taking a big step to increase bike capacity.

  • That’s very cool. I’ve been on the Capitols Corridor a handful of times with bike, and yeah everybody is able to jam their bikes on board.

  • bikerider

    Let’s also note that Capitol Corridor did this without any complaining or lobbying by its riders. Just staff doing its job to respond to needs of its customers — unlike Caltrain where staff is always scheming new ways to discourage bicycle access.

  • Phenomenal!

    Riding back one evening from my CSA farm near Davis with some friends with bikes I had to put my bicycle in the wheel-chair accessible restroom for the entire time. šŸ™‚

    Would be great if the Amtrak CA lines (San Joaquin and Surfliner) now follow suit and add capacity. With these trains, and the bike-friendly thruway buses you can pretty much get to anywhere in California in one day, two days max.

  • relentlesscactus

    bikerider–

    you can drop the comparison to Caltrain, where the number of bikes is massively greater than then the Capitol Corridor. The fact is, bikes provide no revenue and the number have exploded. This keeps paying passengers off the trains. In Europe, several contries charge for bicycles, why not, they take up space.

    All agencies seem to ignore that a train car is massively expensive and more cars are needed with more bikes. It is much cheaper for the agencies to build and provide bike storage lockers on each end of a trip, lining the streets and every available space with lockers. Compare that to a couple of million for a new train car. Cheap, and no flying bikes in an accident or a greasy bike brushing against commuters or blocking a wheelchair.

  • patrick

    Caltrain almost always has excess seating capacity. Until the trains are regularly full your points are invalid. If the trains were regularly at capacity I would agree it makes sense to charge for bikes, until then, it would only discourage riders, thus costing Caltrain in the long run.

  • Sprague

    The accomodating attitude of train conductors towards passengers with bikes is great. Amtrak’s San Joaquin trains have a similar approach and, as reflected in another comment, bicycles may be stored in the luggage compartments of Amtrak’s Thruway buses, too. Especially for multiple rides, Amtrak is a well priced service, too.

    Since Amtrak California serves many smaller cities with fairly poor public transit networks, the convenience of being able to take one’s bike aboard makes the Amtrak transportation option a pretty viable way to go. We’re lucky to have it!

  • michael b

    way to go Cap Corridor! we love to take our bikes from SF to Davis or Sacto for weekend rides. The American River Bike Trail–one of the country’s oldest–starts near the Sacto station and goes all the way to Folsom–no roads!

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