BART to Launch Second Trial Week Without Rush-Hour Bike Ban

BART will implement another trial to allow bikes aboard trains during rush hours, the agency announced today. Unlike the first trial, which tested the policy change during four Fridays in August, the new trial will run during the entire work week from Monday, March 18, through Friday, March 22.

Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/sfbike/7721222216/sizes/z/in/set-72157630886090064/##SFBC/Flickr##

The survey results from the August trial yielded some promising findings in favor of allowing BART riders to bring bikes aboard, provided they still abide by other rules against blocking doors and squeezing onto crowded train cars. While there were some mixed messages from the survey, overall 90 percent of BART riders said they didn’t notice a difference during the trial period.

“Our first pilot offered us great insight, but Fridays in August tend to be slow, and another round of testing and customer feedback is required before permanent changes to our bike access policy are considered,” said BART Board President Tom Radulovich in a statement.

Advocates from the SF and East Bay Bike Coalitions, which held outreach campaigns to encourage bike-toting BART riders to use courtesy during the August pilot, applauded BART’s initiative to take the next step on making the long-overdue change and pledged to continue their education efforts.

“We heard from countless bike riders on both sides of the Bay that the August pilot opened up regional commuting by bike for both experienced bike riders and those wanting to give it a try for the first time,” said SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum.

Lifting bike blackout periods is one measure BART is pursuing as part of its Bike Plan, which aims to double bike-to-BART ridership within the next ten years. BART Board member Robert Raburn noted in a statement that the policy change is an important step in “expanding access and parking for bicyclists encourages riders to ditch their cars, freeing up car parking spaces for those who have no other option than driving.”

“BART is installing more bike lockers and racks monitored by security cameras, but when bike parking is filled the remaining option is to bring the bicycle on board,” he added.

  • Always Remains Anonymous

    This is insane. Just this morning I was on a packed BART train car with 2 bikes taking up space – and it was a commuter train clearly identified on the overheads as a “no bike” train. There simply isn’t room for bikes at this time and as a daily rider I’m willing to swear on a Bible that it is more than a “minority” of bike riders that do NOT follow the rules!!

  • mikesonn

    WWAJD? (What Would Anonymous Jesus Do)

  • Julie

    I would be THRILLED to be able to bring my bike on BART any time. More than once I’ve wound up trapped on the wrong side of the bay, waiting for the bike-ban-time to end. 

    But it makes no sense to me that they’re testing this without also putting other changes into effect. Yes, we should be able to bring bikes on BART at any time. But during rush hour, there should be more cars/trains to accommodate the space, or special cars for bikes (and friends-of-bikes), or special stacking accommodations for easily getting bikes in/out without getting in the way of others (or… ? there have to be other good models out there that we can look at). With good accommodations, a bike barely takes up the space of a person; and good design would make it easy for even novice riders to manage their bike well. But with the current layout, three bicycles can be enough to take over the only open (seatless) area in the car. 

    So I really hope that as part of their Bike Plan, BART will consider changes beyond just lifting the bans and adding station parking. Otherwise, it feels like these “trials” are just them trying to create a context for frustration and push-back.

  • Peter

    “BART is installing more bike lockers and racks monitored by security cameras, but when bike parking is filled the remaining option is to bring the bicycle on board.”
    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I know far more people (myself included) who would like to continue using their bikes at their destination. For us, locking up our bikes at the station is the poorer alternative. I’d much rather take my bike with me across the bay than lock it in El Cerrito and have to walk everywhere in the city. Why did VTA understand this in the South Bay years ago, while BART still doesn’t really get it?

  • Always Remains Anonymous

    Tell people to follow the rules. Stock to your day job Mike. Bill Maher you’re not….

  • Always Remains Anonymous

    It would always be nice to do so many things but reality prevails. At this time there simply isn’t room during peak commute times – even with 10 car trains – for unlimited numbers of bikes. Perhaps when the new train cars are in service there is the possibility of unlimited bike service, but as a daily commuter I can assure you this is not the time. Unless you would like to pay my dry cleaning bill for the slacks that got stained the other day…

  • the greasybear

    Going around “telling people to follow the rules” isn’t Mike’s job, Anonymous, nor is it yours–no matter how self-righteous you feel about your hatred of cycling.

  • the greasybear

    Nobody stained your slacks, Anonymous. Your anti-bike bias is getting the better of you.

  • Anonymous

    I think that BART could accomodate more patrons with and without bicycles if it took out a couple of seats per car. There would be more room for bikes, luggage storage or standees on crowded trains. Or, perhaps BART could install seats that fold up, like the seats on MUNI buses that fold up for wheelchair patrons.

  • Bikes do take up a lot of space on crowded trains, but in all other respects they are a great way of dealing with the first and last mile (or two or three miles) problem that inevitably crops up with any form of transit. The best way to reduce people wanting to bring their bikes on BART is to reduce their need to bring bikes on BART. Which means they need to have no fear of leaving their bike at one end and high confidence of access to a bike at the other.

    No fear bike parking:  monitored, zero rate of bike stealing or stripping of parts, and free or very low cost. (Under, say, $1/day or $30/year?)
    High confidence bike access at destination: regional bikeshare program with LOTS of bikes available in working order. (Free first 30 minutes with yearly subscription–yearly subscription under $100/year?)

    Quality bike parking at BART stations and a great bikeshare program at popular destinations would create both greater access to BART and greater capacity on BART for 1/1000th of the price of any other alternative.

    Granted, anyone who needs to bike many miles from BART to their destination will prefer their own bike rather than a bikeshare bike for speed and comfort. But for destination distances under 3 miles from BART, bikeshare bikes can be very serviceable. (Spoken from experience riding bikeshare bikes in Boston.) 

    Something I have seen in the Netherlands–people keep a bike on both ends of their commute. Ride to the station, leave home bike, take train, pick up work bike on other side. (Work bike is often very old/used/secondhand. Just has to be ridden a few miles/day.) Of course the Netherlands provides lots of beautiful, covered parking at every train station to make this possible.

  • Peter, how does VTA implement the results of their understanding? 

    Bikes ON board is simply not scalable in the urban context on workdays. So when cycling gets just a bit more popular in the Bay Area the space will simply run out, even with the near future new BART trains (Related, the three-bike racks on the front of buses will also not have predictable availability.) While some on board provision is essential – and doable on weekends, much like regional trains in Europe – I think we need to focus even more very secure parking at stations (people can leave bikes at both ends if they want), a folding bike program (such as Brompton Dock) and bike share at both ends of all BART, CalTrain, Amtrak commuter and express suburb-to-city bus journeys. 

  • by that argument Todd – People ON board isn’t scalable either.

  • murphstahoe: I hope we get to the point where half of all transit users arrive by bike and want to bring their bikes onto the train, etc., when half of them are also arriving by cargo bike. Anyway, I would like to see the cost comparison between a guaranteed onboard space vs. bike parking + bike share.

  • sadly todd, I fear that by the time the scales tip to the point where half the people want to switch to bikes/transit, it will be because energy is so expensive there will be no transit for them to take.

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