Caltrain vs. Bicyclists: New Developments

A group of cyclists busts out the graphs and charts to justify replacing Caltrain seats with more bicycle storage.

SF Streetsblog reports.

A few highlights:

* Caltrain has a $2.3 million deficit. Its governing board is considering service cuts and fare hikes.

* BIKES ONboard, a group of bicycle advocates sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, says the commuter rail line could avoid those cuts if it would just accommodate the increasing demand for bike space. They say that cyclists are the fastest-growing segment of Caltrain users, and that the agency is losing over $1 million in annual fare box revenue by bumping bicyclists (that is, refusing to let them on the train). They claim to have received reports of 178 bumps from their members this July.

* Their suggestion: Pull out enough seats to accommodate 80 bike spaces per train. A Gallery bike car can currently accommodate 40 bikes, while the Bombardier bike cars can handle up to 24. Some trains have two bike cars, so bike capacity varies from 40 to 80 bikes per train. Caltrain began increasing bike capacity last year; this would increase capacity even more.

* Caltrain is not enthused. “At first glance the report appears to be based on a number of inaccurate assumptions. Since this is the first time we have seen the report, we will need several days to review it before we can provide a response,” says Caltrain spokesperson Christine Dunn. Dunn says that the agency is conducting a bicycle count study of its own, thank you very much.

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  1. Nicole

    Why doesn’t the SF Bike Coalition lobby for something that meets ALL the passenger needs, such as better organization/storage of bikes on the bike cars so that the existing number of bike cars can store more bikes. That way, Caltrain doesn’t lose any seating capacity and has fewer cars to remodel (saving Caltrain–and taxpayers and riders–money).

    Look at this photo:

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a more efficient way to store the bikes would be to use a vertical rack, something like this:

  2. Mike

    The problem with the vertical bike racks at is they need 6 feet for 4 bikes. I think that is the same space used for 4 bikes in an old bike car.

  3. maria

    Bicyclists should pay a fare for their bike too. I wonder if they ride free now or if they pay. Bringing a bike on Caltrain is a service and should be paid for.

  4. David M

    The California State Civil Code prohibits charging a fee for a bicycle on any common carrier.

  5. Joe Burrston

    Well put David M., and thank you for the citation. I don’t think anyone would dream of asking wheelchair and baby stroller users to pay extra for their appropriate

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