BART Train

Fridays in August just became a bike commuter’s dream — bicycles are allowed on BART trains all day long, even during rush hour, as part of a new pilot program. Evaluation of the program from bike riders and passengers alike will determine whether the program continues past August. How was your commute on BART this morning?

Guests:
Steve Beroldo, bike program manager for BART
Renee Rivera, executive director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition

  • Mike

    I still don’t understand why BART continues to run 8 and 9 car trains, instead of 10 car trains, during rush hour. Does it save that much money? 

  • Joshua D.

    I commute daily between Oakland and San Francisco. I didn’t take my bike this morning because I was concerned about over-crowding, however there was plenty of room. From my point of view, the biggest obstacles to allowing bikes on BART at all times are the number of trains during peak commute hours and the configuration of seating which forces cyclists to huddle around the doors of the trains. 

  • Kristine

    Wouldn’t it also be amazing to someday have a bike car at the back of the Muni trains (for SF Muni riders)?

  • Rusanoff

    I take my bike on BART all the time, regardless of these silly rules, I respect other riders and wait to get on and wait to get off. politness to a fellow rider is much more efficient.

  • Rachel

    I’m very pro bike!   I ride as much as possible in Berkeley.  I commute to SF by BART.  I bike to BART and lock it in a locker.  My SF stop is Embarcadero.  I don’t see how bikes could possibly be allowed during commute hours.  The SF to Richmond line is SO crowded.  It’s always standing room only.  There is simply NO room for bikes.  I wish it were otherwise.

  • Bob

    What about bringing a Segway on the BART? I think I saw someone take one on, or he told me about it. He used the elevator, of course, but I think he told me he was allowed to use BART with it. 

    • Jason

      There are no BART rules to exclude electric powered transportation devices on board.  However, there is a rule that states that you can not bring gasoline powered devices on board:
      “Gas powered vehicles are never permitted.”

  • Chemist150

    I was just in NYC and used the subway extensively.  Compared to there, BART is horrible.  The BART equivalent in NYC would be that to get from Brooklyn to Queens, you’d have to ride BART through Manhattan to get to Queens and it would drop you off right after the bridge and you’d have to walk 2-5 miles to get to your destination.
     
    I lived in Oakland and used BART for several months and rode my bike to and from the stations.  I commuted to SSF and it took about 90 minutes.  Driving it takes about 45 minutes and cost less in the end (at least prior to the toll increases but I commute now and thus it continues to cost much less to drive).  Now, living between Castro Valley and San Leandro, I will never use BART to commute.  With the excess cost, time and inconvenience, BART is a waste of time.  I do not need to go through SF to get to SSF.
     
    Allowing bikes is a must if you cannot make the stops more convenient between residential areas and places those people actually work.

    •  It’s pretty silly to design a commuter rail system for people commuting from the sticks to the sticks.

  • guest

    So I heard the guests comments about having dedicated bike cars, but it seems like these would be the best solution. Could the screens with times also indicate which car is the designated bike car?

  • Tim Deacon

    In an ideal world, bikes would be on board at all times.  In reality, trains are packed at key times.  Part of BART’s answer is removing seats, but it seems like they are forever removing seats.  The design for new cars removes even more, to create more standing room.  As a daily commuter, seats are already at a premium.

  • Thomas

    Bikes do not work on BART. There is no room for them and on busy lines during commute times they take up too much space, slow down boarding and riders seem not to mind blocking seats or passengers.

  • Lotusstone

    I commute 4 days a week with BART on the Richmond – Fremont Line with a bike (I ride to San Jose from Fremont). I have yet to see bikes being excluded from riding the Richmond/Fremont line, even during rush hour, which is great for some. Everyone on the BART seems okay with the bikes being onboard, especially since the riders generally make way for others and try to take up as little room as possible. I have seen others and have myself given up seats for many older passengers, blind passengers and  children. 
    The only times I have seen bikes become a problem is on the evening rush commute in the Berkeley area when it can have the tendency to get really crowded (the norm for the SF trains). But even then, the bikes tend to huddle together and try to stay out of other’s way, and the non-bike passengers tend to be polite and respect the people making a multi-modal commute. 

    I think additional cars for the busier times and lines would be appreciated by all. Also, the idea of a bike car, such as what CalTrain has, during rush hour on a few of the SF lines would be well received.

  • xc ❄

    I want bikes on BART for sure, but there are a few issues.

    We need either

    1) A Bike only car (the 2nd car or 2nd to last car should work)

    or 

    2) Remove a few more seats on every car / create more fold down seats.

    • Prinzrob

      BART says having all cyclists getting on and off the same car would increase the dwell time of trains at each station just a little bit (currently avg 15 seconds, I think), which over time would amount to a considerable delay and expense. Other reasons were stated in the radio interview.

      The new car design in the works looks pretty good so far, though. More details are at this link: http://www.bart.gov/about/projects/cars/index.aspx. They are changing the 2 door design to 3 doors, making the middle door on each car the “bike door” with more space around it on the inside as well as some sort of bike parking option like wheel slots. Supposedly the aisles will also be wider and the seats higher, too, which means that folks with bags and luggage will be able to stow them under their seats, making more room elsewhere for bikes.

  • Sonja

    unfortunately I am not in the Bay Area for the entire month of August, and cannot take Bart during the pilot program on Fridays in August, but I would still like to give a few comments on taking bike on Bart. I do take my bike on Bart frequently between SF and the East Bay (Oakland as well as Berkeley), and I have always found  bike exclusion times really really unpractical, if not extremely annoying. I have been stranded because of that many many times, not being able to leave SF to go back to Oakland, needing to reschedule things because I was stranded on one side of the Bay and unable to get to the other, because my bike wasn’t allowed to enter the Bart. I have always wondered how Bart assumes bicyclists are supposed to cope with these restrictions. What are we supposed to do if we miss that last Bart we are allowed to get on and have to wait 2-3 hrs until we are allowed to get on again? Are we supposed to deflate our bikes and stick them into our pockets? Well, deflatable steel hasn’t been invented yet. In addition I’ve always found it really difficult to memorize the exact times I can’t get on at each of the stations I use. Sometimes I forget to check online before I leave home.
    So what are our (bicyclists’) options? In my case I usually need the bike on both ends, so leaving it behind wouldn’t make any sense – nor would it be a good idea to simply lock it up somewhere near the Bart station, because chances are pretty good that it would be demolished or entirely gone the next day. (f you use a good U-lock it will only be demolished, if you don’t use a U-lock it will be gone. That unfortunately is what happens to bikes in the Bay Area – and in my experience the police doesn’t care that much either, which is quite understandable, as they’d need a few hundred additional officers if they attempted to track down every bike that gets stolen in the Bay Area).
    I listened to your program about bikes on Bart and the Friday pilot program. I liked the idea about designating 1 car to bikes. I didn’t understand the issue about it being the first car, though.  Why not simply change that policy about bikes not being allowed on the first car? If the first car is a bike car, obviously the second car will become the first passenger car, so what’s the
    problem? If they don’t like that, then why not designate another car, for instance the middle car. That way it will always stay the middle car, also when the train turns around. This will be easy to remember for everyone.
    And maybe it’s not necessary to take ALL the seats out of that designated bike car – just take half the seats. That way the bike owners can sit with their bikes in the same car. This ensures that they can get on and off easily and fast. If the bike riders need to sit in a car separate from their bikes (as is the case on Caltrain, if I am not mistaken), they will need extra time to get their bike at their stop and the train might be held up at the station, especially if there are many bicyclists on a train.
    I think it would really be great if Bart would find a solution to get rid of those annoying bike restrictions. As indicated above, they really make riding Bart for bicyclists very difficult, and many places you have no option. For instance there is no other way to get from the East Bay to SF on bike without using Bart, as the Bay Bridge is a freeway  that doesn’t allow bikes .
    Folding bikes sound great, but they aren’t if you have to go up and down San Francisco’s hills. Those bikes might be good for kids to ride through GG park, but otherwise they are pretty useless in San Francisco.
    I appreciate that Bart finally addresses this issue with their Friday pilot program – and I hope very much that they will come to a permanent solution to finally get rid of the weekday bike restrictions altogether. That would be awesome!

  • Jason

    Can we get 10-car morning commute trains on the Dublin-Pleasanton line first? I grab it at the terminus, and many cars are almost full before we get to Castro Valley. 

  • BananaBike!

    They touched on secure bike parking, but didn’t mention that people can also park their bikes 24/7 at the hundreds of secure bike parking spaces at BART.

    There are on-demand electronic bike lockers or group parking spots at every East Bay BART station (except Walnut Creek) plus Embarcadero and Daly City BART and lots of other places. I use my BikeLink Card to access the eLockers and group parking and lockers at Ashby and lots of the other locations. The secure parking is a hidden gem!Taking my bike on BART when I need to is great, but knowing I have a secure place to store my bike and gear at BART means I don’t have to negotiate crowded train or carry my bike up and down stairs (ugh!). Love not having to lock by bike in the individual lockers, too!

    • Kenji Yamada

       Those are pretty cool, but they’re not available at every station.  I was about to buy one of those BikeLink keys until I saw that the lockers are only available to staff at Pleasant Hill station.

      • Prinzrob

        BART says there are 104 public, shared use e-lockers and 90 keyed lockers at the Pleasant Hill station: http://www.bart.gov/stations/phil/index.aspx

        They actually have the most public BikeLink lockers in the entire system! The map of all the locations is available at the link below, with the few private lockers shown with blue markers: http://www.bikelink.org/locations/map

        You should get a card, it is an insanely good deal and I use mine all the time. No stolen bikes!

  • Simon

    Here are some of my thoughts:

    1. Allowing bikes in Caltrain has bicyles has increased CalTrain usage, not decreased it.  That has to be a good thing.  There is no reason this isn’t a good thing for BART.

    2. There are literally thousands of bikes locked up at stations all over the BART system indicating pent-up demand.

    3. Bike riders are commuters, and commuters are BART’s constituency.

    Bicycles are part of ordinary working people’s commute, and they should be allowed on all BART trains at all times.  Nobody would consider banning airport baggage at commute times, hence BART should accommodate the “luggage” of their daily multi-modal commuters as well.

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