By Hannah Long
BART wants to make its system more bike-friendly. With that in mind, the transit company today launched a new Commute Period Bike Pilot Program that allows passengers to brings their bikes on trains all day every Friday in August. Bikes are usually banned from BART trains during commute hours.
BART Board Vice President Tom Radulovich says the pilot program is part of an ongoing effort to increase the number of bicyclists using BART.
“The pilot program is an experiment to expand bike access. BART has always had a willingness to try new things. We’ve experimented with cyclist permits and lockout periods. BART is once again experimenting,” he said Thursday at an event at the Berkeley Bike Station to launch the program.
The program will run through August, at which point the BART Board will determine whether to make any permanent changes to the rules regulating bike usage.
During this trial period, all other BART bike protocol will remain the same. For instance, riders must carry bikes on stairs instead of using BART escalators and cannot take bikes onto the first car of any train. BART Board Manager Robert Raburn hopes that these rules, along with bicyclists’ common sense and courtesy, will allow the pilot program to run smoothly.
Crucial to the success of the program is also limiting negative consequences for other BART riders. “It is important for us to ask not only bikers, but also other passengers and especially disabled passengers, what they think about the program,” says Radulovich.
Surveys will be available in BART stations and online throughout August. Questions on the survey include whether there is enough room to accommodate bikes during the commuter periods, and how bikes affect the riders’ trip. The results will be closely evaluated before the BART Board decides to make any permanent changes.
Radulovich hopes that the program will help to eventually double the number of bicyclists riding BART, although this number has already increased by 71% in the past five years.
Executive Director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition Renee Rivera said other projects to make BART more bike-friendly include increased parking facilities for bikes such as racks and Bike Stations (such as the one outside the Downtown Berkeley BART station, where riders can park their bikes for free).
BART is also in the process of renovating trains to make more room for bikes and plans to implement a bike sharing program in San Francisco starting this fall.
Berkeley approves number of bike-friendly initiatives [06.29.12]
Berkeley Enacts Cyclist Anti-Harassment Law [02.22.12]
Podcast: What exactly are Berkeley’s rules of the road for cyclists? [11.29.11]
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