(click on image to enlarge.)
In the May 2008 issue of the Metrolink newsletter "Metrolink Matters"(PDF), there is question and answer bit about bicycles in a section called "Four Questions for Gray Crary - Assistant Executive Officer, Operations and Engineering"
The question is:
"Any plans for a car with fewer seats but more bike
and luggage storage?"
The answer is:
"Not at this time. I ride the trains myself, and I am seeing more bicycles and more people with luggage—I suspect due to people’s using the FlyAway bus at Union Station and to our direct access to the Burbank Airport. But our passengers are still mainly commuters who, for the most part, do not travel with luggage as Amtrak passengers tend to do. Seats are a very valuable commodity with the demand for Metrolink service so high, and we are ordering more cars to add seats and reduce passenger crowding."
IMHO, regarding bicycle commuters using Metrolink trains, this response is absurd! And by not providing adequate/appropriate accommodations for the bicycle commuters is a self fulfilling action.
(videos to the right of bicyclists boarding Caltrain with their bicycles)
The Caltrain, a commuter train that runs from San Francisco, through Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Gilroy, has two "bike cars" per train which can accommodate up to thirty two(32) bicycles each. And from reports I have reviewed, even with that, there are still times when bicyclist commuters are left at stations because there is no more room left for their bicycle on board the train.
Mr. Crary, there are many bicycling commuters out there that would love to use the metro link train. The problem is that they no longer can be a bicycle commuter on the metro link train if there is no room for their bicycle. Please have a look at the good work being done on CalTrain. See the "Caltrain's Bicycle Access" web page for more info on Caltrain's policy and facilities for accommodating bicycles. Picture to the right is the inside of a Caltrain bike car.
Picture below is of a bicycle strapped into one of the two places for holding bicycles on the Metrolink train cars. Only some cars on the Metrolink trains have these spaces. And from what I understand bicycles are not allowed on the cars with out these bicycle parking sections.
However, I think it is important to note that I have occasionally seen three bicycles leaned and strapped down with bungee cords to the other two bicycles.
If you are a bicycle commuter that would like to write a letter to Mr. Crary, the email for responding to this column is posted in the PDF file. I believe the contact instructions are: send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org , subject line “4 Questions”. And if you do email him, let me know, and send me a copy too.