Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bikes Being Bumped Off Bay Area Trains!

Today at, there was an article by Shaun Bishop describing the difficulties faced by Bay area commuters who try to combine cycling with riding on "Cal Trains."

"Incentives are also driving more commuters out of their cars and into the trains, causing a logjam inside to rival the gridlock on nearby Highway 101... And when push comes to shove, it's the bicyclists who get left behind - or, in Caltrain parlance, 'bumped.'"

A cyclo-commuter boards a Cal Train with a bicycle
Photo by Gary Reyes / Mercury News

When the trains are full, the number of bicycles allowed on each train is reduced. Caltrain is starting to consider building bicycle lockers or starting a bicycle sharing program, but the commuting population is demanding a simpler answer - more trains! However, tight budgets and governmental bureaucracy are likely to make any of these options difficult to implement.

It is a difficult situation. On one hand, increased train ridership is a very, very good thing. On the other hand, anything that discourages dual-mode commuting with bicycles and public transportation should be viewed as a significant problem. Perhaps this scenario gives us a glimpse at some of the difficulties our society will face as personal automobile use decreases over the next decades.


Unknown said...

The solution is fairly simple: Folding Bicycles.

It is the same method that British commuters use for dual-mode commuting and the only polite method to bring a bike on a packed train.

Forbes Black said...


I absolutely agree. While I was in China, I saw an astounding number of folding bicycles with 16" or 20" wheels. Lots of regular folders, but lots of electric folders as well. I was also surprised by how nice most of the folders I test rode were. In general, they ride really well! They just make sense. BUT, talking the American consumer public into buying and riding them en masse could be quite a challenge.

2whls3spds said...

Folders are one option, bicycle lockers at the stations on both ends is another quick solution. Unfortunately the best one is to add more cars but from my research the lead time is around 2 years from the time a car is ordered until the time it is delivered...


lunaclara said...

Here in Portland, there are similar problems...buses have racks, but only two. It's sometimes a long wait to the second one. There's also a limit on the light rail. My recumbent wouldn't fit anyway. Luckily, work's not too far, and I just bike the distance.

But I do tend to agree that it's most practical for those who want to board their bikes to get folders.