Advocates: Help Make BART’s Rush Hour “Bikes On Board” Pilot a Success

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[Update: BART released a video explaining the bikes-on-board rush hour pilot.]

BART announced a pilot last week to lift the ban on bikes aboard rush-hour trains each Friday in August. The news is cause for celebration among bike advocates, who are calling upon bike-toting passengers to help make the pilot a success by setting a good example with courteous behavior. If the pilot proves successful, BART could move toward removing more blackout periods.

“Today we have a chance to win full-time access, something we have been working on for years,” said East Bay Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Renee Rivera in a post last week explaining the etiquette for bringing bikes on board. Both the EBBC and the SF Bike Coalition are searching for volunteers to help inform BART riders about the upcoming pilot and monitor how it works.

BART staff will evaluate whether to expand or end the pilot based on “feedback from riders, both cyclists and non-cyclists, and an analysis of operational issues, such as the amount of time a train remains at each station to accommodate bicycle boarding,” the agency said in a statement.

Of course, the rest of BART’s rules will still apply: No bikes will be allowed on the first car of a train, and riders must still avoid blocking doors, squeezing onto crowded cars, and causing delays in any way.

“BART’s pilot project follows the lead of the New York subway. In New York, bikes are allowed, with the caveat for passengers to be courteous and to use common sense,” BART board member Robert Raburn said in a statement.

The pilot is a promising sign of BART’s commitment to implementing its new bike plan, which aims to double bike-to-BART ridership within ten years. Although BART management has long resisted reducing blackout periods, advocates and agency staff say there’s a more open attitude under the new general manager, Grace Crunican.

BART said any permanent lifting of blackout periods will have to be approved by its board of directors.