Folding Bicycles Now Allowed Aboard Muni Metro Trains and Buses

A folded bike on board the Los Angeles Metro. Flickr photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgalvan/3742884789/sizes/z/in/photostream/##davidagalvan##

Muni rail and bus passengers can now bring folding bikes aboard, the SFMTA announced today. The measure will help provide more commuting options for residents who rely on Muni’s metro and bus lines but aren’t able to easily connect to them by foot or other transit.

“This will make bicycling an option for even more people more often,” SF Bike Coalition (SFBC) Executive Director Leah Shahum said in a statement. “We commend the SFMTA for helping even more people move around our city easily on both bicycles and transit.”

Cycling San Franciscans have long bemoaned the inability to bring bikes aboard Muni and still look forward to the day when trains can accommodate regular bicycles. Front racks installed on Muni buses have allowed them to carry bicycles for a number of years, but the Breda light-rail vehicles currently used by Muni are poorly designed for the task. Folding bikes are still prohibited on cable cars.

“In the eyes of the SFBC and many in San Francisco’s cycling community, there has long been a need for bicycle access on Muni’s light-rail lines,” the SFBC explains on its webpage about light rail, noting that “almost all other U.S. cities now allow bikes on their light-rail systems.”

In addition to supplementing longer trips, transit can serve as a vital safety net for bicycling in circumstances where bicycle users are unable to ride such as inclement weather, flat tires or exhaustion.

The SF Bicycle Plan, approved in late 2009, lists folding bicycle access on rail vehicles as a priority along with trials for allowing all bicycles during off-peak hours. SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the SF Chronicle today that the “idea is being studied but could prove problematic, given that the trains are often crowded before and after the morning and evening commutes.”

  • Nick

    This is really going to help people on a practical level. Especially people who can’t do a full 2-way commute. You can now ride to work downtown and take any train home at the end of your shift.
     
    This is going to make cycling and transit much more useful for a lot of people. Where can I buy a second-hand folding bike?
     

  • maaaty

    Now this is the kind of half-measure that works!

  • Blondechikin33

    awesome!  now i can travel with my Dahon!

  • Anonymous

    I hope this really opens up Twin Peaks, the Sunset, and Ingleside to bike-commuters. They can start adding visible pressure for necessary street improvements in these auto-dominated neighborhoods.

    Still, it’d probably benefit everyone if there were “last on” rules.

  • =v= AC Transit has had this policy in place for a few years already:
    http://www.actransit.org/rider-info/rider-guides/bikes-on-buses/

  • Sue

    I’m glad to see the agency move forward with efforts to expand access to its system.

    Now I’d like the Bicycle Coalition and the agency to tackle another matter: riders who put their bicycles in the outside slots when the inside slot is available.  Late yesterday afternoon I was riding home looking for a bus to put my bike on.  One came by, but there was a bike on the rack in the outside slot.  I couldn’t get my own bike in.  I realize someone else may have removed his/her bike from the inside slot at an earlier bus stop in this case, but as I live near the start of many bus lines in the Richmond District, I think that is usually not the case.  We need to educate riders with bicycles to put their bikes on the inside racks if they are the first to load their bike on a bike rack.  Perhaps we need to put signs on the fronts of buses, and perhaps we need to train drivers to tell people with bikes to put their bikes in the inside slots first.

  • One thing that SFMTA could do to keep the number of bikes on the light rail system down is to create secure bike parking at the West Portal station and at a few other spots on the K, L and M lines where lots of people board. Secure bike parking on the boarding end combined with a reasonably good bike share system downtown would reduce the need for people to bring their bikes with them.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t you just have moved the other bike from the outside slot to the inside slot and perhaps had a word with the other cyclist when you boarded the bus?

  • Sue

    In response to pchazz, I’m short — loading my bike onto the rack is already hard enough and time consuming as well.  I just waved the bus on.