Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Metrolink Bicycles

(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: metrolinkmatters@scrra.net , subject line “4 Questions”. And if you do email him, let me know, and send me a copy too.

9 comments:

James_Shelton32 said...

What they need is a service where you buy a virtual bicycle. You buy the right to use one standard comfort bike. When you get to the metro station or park and ride bus stop you lock the bike that you are using in a standard lock and swipe a card indicating that you have returned the bike. You can enter a code if the bike needs servicing. Once you get to the end of your metro ride, you swipe a card taking another bike and return it to a lock when you are finished. The bikes are positioned around the city as needed. The bike company services the bikes and makes sure that there are enough bikes for a standard recurring fee. This eliminates the need to transport bikes. Also is eliminates the need for users to store their bikes in their apartments. Bikes are colored, numbered, and labeled to prevent theft.

James_Shelton32 said...

What they need is a service where you buy a virtual bicycle. You buy the right to use one standard comfort bike. When you get to the metro station or park and ride bus stop you lock the bike that you are using in a standard lock and swipe a card indicating that you have returned the bike. You can enter a code if the bike needs servicing. Once you get to the end of your metro ride, you swipe a card taking another bike and return it to a lock when you are finished. The bikes are positioned around the city as needed. The bike company services the bikes and makes sure that there are enough bikes for a standard recurring fee. This eliminates the need to transport bikes. Also is eliminates the need for users to store their bikes in their apartments. Bikes are colored, numbered, and labeled to prevent theft.

Fritz said...

On Caltrain, a single bike car is typical. The conductor in the first video said "2 bike cars" to the cyclists because that's the exception, not the rule.

The bike car service started in the 90s when caltrain usage wasn't all that great. We have momentum now so getting rid of that service would be very difficult. These days, though, the bike car is getting so crowded it's almost becoming not worth the effort.

CSM! said...

Fritz, thanks for your comment.

I think the bike cars are an excellent way for people to travel multimodally. It allows for faster commute times when a passenger has to take a bus (or 2 or 3) on either (or both) ends of the train ride to get to there destination. It also, gives that person locacl transport on both ends of the commute. One area we may continue to see growth in, is the use of folding bicycles. Folding bicycle technology has been continuing to improve. And interestingly, the use of electric assist technology on folding bicycles is also continuing to improve.

CSM! said...

Fritz, thanks for your comment.

I think the bike cars(caltain) provide an excellent way for people riding their bicycle to and from the Caltrain stations a way to travel multimodally. It allows for faster commute times when a passenger has to take a bus (or 2 or 3) on either (or both) ends of the train ride to get to there destination. It also, gives that person locacl transport on both ends of the commute. One area we may continue to see growth in, is the use of folding bicycles. Folding bicycle technology has been continuing to improve. And interestingly, the use of electric assist technology on folding bicycles is also continuing to improve.

I will post some recent videos of some ebike and folding-ebike companies that are starting up.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand when people ride their bikes in the street. they need to have a special bike tunnel.


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Simon said...

I'm way into more public transportation. It is insane how bad traffic is in Los Angeles. It sucks for us, it sucks for the environment-- it's just not good.
Here is some info on Santa Monica's Green City initiatives for anyone who's interested: # On the West Coast, Santa Monica wants to be the nation’s first “Net Zero” city. Through energy efficiency, solar and other renewable energy, the city envisions generating clean energy that matches its total energy consumption.

I have a bit more about this on my blog at my web-site: whatever Santa Monica Real Estate

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I remember the first day that I learned to ride a bicycle it was really sad because I had an accident.

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I really like this information , I am seeing more bicycles and more people with luggage, thanks for sharing it is amazing , excellent post