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September 17, 2013 > BART bike project

BART bike project

Submitted By BART

The post-summer crunch - when vacations are over and schools are back in session - is underway, on BART trains already experiencing record ridership. BART's five-month extended commute period bike pilot is in its third month, the first with autumn-level ridership, and officials are taking the opportunity for more education on successful coexistence of cyclists and non-cyclists.

"For many people, this pilot is really helping their day, because they can ride the trains when they couldn't before," said Steve Beroldo, BART's bike program manager. "We have heard concerns from others, however, about some trains being just too crowded to accommodate bikes, so we are working to get the word out about ways to minimize those kinds of problems."

While previously a bike blackout was in place during peak commute periods, during the extended pilot running through Dec. 1, bikes are allowed at all times, with some restrictions and subject to the other bike rules. One of the existing rules still in place is that bikes are not allowed on trains where they cannot comfortably fit - a measure, Beroldo explains, that is "a little subjective."

"The big challenge is that some cars are going to be too crowded for bikes to get on them, and we have to ask bicyclists not to board those cars," Beroldo said. "They have to move toward the back of the train, they may have to wait for another train. One rule of thumb might be, if you don't have ask multiple people to move, or if you are not going to be at risk of running into someone, then it's probably OK to bring your bike on board," he suggested. "Cyclists need to be very conscious of not blocking seats and not blocking the doors. Also, they should remember that chains can be oily, tires can have road grit on them, and they don't want to bump into people."

BART is taking other steps to ease the process. Additional secure bike parking is being added at some stations; decals are in place at some stations with narrow platforms to show bikes where to wait; and the BART website has a new crowding feature on its QuickPlanner trip planning tool that can help assess which trains are more likely to have space for bikes.

"You can look ahead of time at different train options that work for you and pick the one that might be less crowded," Beroldo said. "It's not real time - it's built on historical data - but our ridership is pretty consistent from day-to-day and we update it on a quarterly basis. It will give a clue as to which trains are the most crowded."

The next generation of BART trains will have bike racks for even better accommodations; read more about the Fleet of the Future at www.bart.gov/cars. "Ultimately, the decision on what happens after the pilot is going to be up to the Board of Directors," Beroldo said. "It is a Board decision and they are going to listen to the riders."

Read more about the bike pilot and give feedback at www.bart.gov/bikes.

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