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BART tests allowing bikes on trains at all times

BART hopes a new program will help to eventually double the number of bicyclists riding BART. Photo: Neal Patel/Creative Commons

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.

Related:
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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  • anon

    I am really looking forward to some dedicated space for bicycles.  The current free for all, and the generally overcrowded nature of Bart is not so pleasant.

  • berkopinionator

     Wow!  It only took 42 years for BART to become brave enough to try this radical experiment of allowing bicycles “anytime” for 4 Fridays in August of 2012.  BART is really progressive!!!  What will they try next, 4 Sundays in December?

  • Anonymous

    I hope this doesn’t mean that there will be fewer people riding folding bikes to laugh at.

  • MarinAveUser

    Will the bikers demand that trains not stop at some stations because it will break their “momentum” just as they don’t at stop stop signs in Berkeley and other places?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Regarding common courtesy, I was on BART last night and had to shove my way through some bikers who would not budge an inch to allow passengers to exit the train.  There’s something about the configuration of BART cars that makes this more difficult than on other transit systems I’ve ridden, though I can’t put my finger on it.  But at least part of this specific experience was that the bikers didn’t seem to care that they were blocking the door.

  • EarlyMorningCoffee

    Why do Anti-Bike loudmouths remind me of the Tea Party? You people are insufferable!

  • Judyhalftoes

    Been laughed a lot yourself have you?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    I think Berkeleyside needs to adopt a corollary of Godwin’s Law, in which calling someone a Tea Party member, a fascist, etc means that you automatically lose the “debate.”  Actually ad hominem attacks in general are lame.  Advance a position, ask a question, contribute an experience, but let’s leave the logical fallacies for the City Council, OK?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but I don’t ride folding bike.

  • Anon

    I was on BART last evening (~8pm) with my bike along with another cyclist.  Transferred at MacArthur to a Richmond bound train.  As a non-BART regular, I confess that I was shocked at how crowded all of the cars seemed to be after 8pm.  Per force, we did end up blocking the exit doors since we could only advance a little ways into the train. 

    As soon as the train reached Ashby, we temporarily disembarked in order NOT to block the exits, although some people tried to shove past us before the train stopped.  It was quite stressful and unpleasant.  Unlike some (many?) cyclists, I don’t feel any special entitlement because I am on a bike.  But then again, I rarely ride BART at all and even more rarely bring a bike on it, except occasionally on the weekends.

    In any case, on behalf of all BART borne cyclists, I extend an apology!

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Thanks — even non-cyclists are sometimes in a situation where stepping off and then back on is the best way to allow other riders to exit.  And it goes without saying that non-cyclists can be pretty rude on BART too.  The only difference in this case is that I can squeeze by a person, but not by a metal frame.  Next time, I hope I land on the same car as you!

  • Anon

    Likewise!  I always enjoy reading your astute and well-penned comments on B-side!

  • Charles_Siegel

    How many cars were in the train?  I have noticed that, on the occasional days when I have to leave for work at 9:15 AM instead of 8:45 AM, BART shortens the Fremont train to 4 cars instead of 6, so it is usually more crowded after the rush hour is over.

    This doesn’t apply to the current experiment, which is during rush hour, but it does apply to your 8 PM trip.  One other thing that BART could do to reduce crowding, so bikes could be accommodated with less nuisance for everyone, is to run longer trains during non-rush hours.

  • Anonymous

     This morning’s Forum on KQED was interesting if you missed it.  The BART spokesperson claimed that they run all available cars during rush hour which is a little shocking if it’s true.

  • Guesticca

    No, we are too busy protesting the doors separating the cars.  

  • Charles_Siegel

     During rush hour, I can believe it.  My point is that they reduce the number of cars on my train after rush hour – so it is just as crowded during non-rush hours.

  • Anon

    Charles, on the 8pm train N bound to Richmond, I sprinted over from the other platform with bike in hand, so I did  not have time to get a reliable count of the number of cars, but it looked like a fairly long train to me (8-10 cars?).  A zillion people got off at Downtown Berkeley.  It really emptied out after that.  I don’t know if there was some special event happening last evening in downtown Berkeley.

  • berkopinionator

    How about having a bicycle caboose car on every train?  If it isn’t full of people with bikes, then others can use it too!

  • Anon

    Yes, great idea, especially if they thin out the number of seats.  Perhaps use some older cars which are on their last legs.

  • Guest

    If it’s a good and seemingly obvious idea, BART will wait 10 years before trying it.

  • http://twitter.com/planbike Jody Brooks

    Please follow and share any one of these pages if you support bicycles on BART at all times:

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BikesOnBart
    Google+ : http://goo.gl/Ctd0U
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/bikesonbart