Caltrain Increases Bike Capacity to Two Cars on Every Train

Flickr photo: b|m

Six months ahead of schedule, Caltrain announced today it has increased its bicycle capacity to two cars on every train. The move is expected to provide some relief to the many Caltrain riders who bike and are routinely bumped from trains when the bike cars are full.

“This is going to make a huge difference for cyclists using Caltrain on a daily basis,” said cycling Caltrain rider John Murphy. “This should have happened a long time ago, not only because it provides better service for those customers, but because it makes financial sense. A cyclist with a bike in the rack and sitting in a seat pays more fare money than two empty seats ever will.”

“Caltrain’s parking lots are full, and the population in walking distance or willing to use Muni, SamTrans, and VTA has been tapped out,” he added. “The bike program is a winner.”

The older Gallery-car trains, which make up 70 percent of Caltrain’s fleet, can now carry a total of 80 bikes each, while trains with the newer Bombardier cars hold 48 spots, according to a news release. The $300,000 project marks a 50 percent increase in the system’s bike capacity since 2008.

“To provide consistent service and facilitate boarding, bike cars are in the same position on every train,” the release states, with “one at the northern-most end of the train and one near the middle of the train, two cars north of the locomotive. Bike cars are identified with a yellow bike decal on the outside.”

The addition comes after strong calls were made to increase bike capacity from advocates like Caltrain Bicycle Advisory Committee Chair Shirley Johnson, who leads the SF Bike Coalition’s Bikes ONboard Project. A Caltrain study conducted last May showed that increasing capacity would benefit all passengers.

“The financial data was pretty clear cut, and this should not have been as hard as it was,” said Murphy. “This is a tribute to the hard work of the Bikes ONBoard program, the ridership as a whole, and to Caltrain for responding, in the end, to customer feedback.”