anna sauce
BART's rule to disallow bikes during commuter hours directly conflicts with any goals for the bay area to reduce emissions.
I've got a blog rant about all the little things that are wrong with BART that I need to finish and post. There are a lot of design decisions that were made when they designed it that did not turn out to be especially bright. - Wirehead
It's pretty ridiculous, especially given that BART presents a lot of "last mile" problems for the vast bulk of potential riders. At the very least, there have been some small steps toward being more bike friendly, such as experimenting with specified bike areas in select cars and incorporating bike parking stations in select stations. I don't really understand why it's so hard. Every train should have one or two Standing Room Only cars that not only can accommodate a bunch of bikes, but also higher numbers of non-cyclist riders. - Chester
By the way, there is a BART Bike Shuttle van+trailer service that runs between MacArthur and the Transbay Terminal. And fare is only a dollar. - Chester
I hate when services find new ways to PREVENT people from using them. - Brian Johns
I've talked to some folks and I hear the idea is that some trains from Dublin/Livermore are really packed. The commute to me is reverse, so it's really not an issue. If that's the case it's just bad PR to declaim that "no bikes on BART during commute hours" instead they should do it route by route. People rarely vary their route, if they commute anyways. - anna sauce
Chester- I like the idea of a no-seat car - anna sauce
The solution is simple. Longer trains and more of them. The problem is that each BART car costs significantly more than similarly sized and featured cars for most other transit systems, because of design decisions made in the 60s that turned out to have been dumb. - Wirehead
I like CalTrain much more. Pretty much, I'm wishing that they would take all of the investment they made starting in 1997 to do the SFO extension and all of the money they will spend on the San Jose extension and spent it extending and electrifying CalTrain. Would have been a much more efficient use of the money. - Wirehead
As a pedestrian, I find bikes on Skytrain (the doors and aisles are roughly BART-sized) a giant hassle; they block everything. I hate strollers a lot more, though. Actually, I just hate commuting in general. I often say transit has made me a misanthrope. - Andrew C (✔)
Actually, in most of Europe, bikes aren't allowed on trains during commuter hours either (and most of them charge extra to bring a bike even during off-commute hours). I have issues with BART, but this is not one of them. Bikes take up a heck of a lot more room than people, and if you're already cramped for space, not allowing bikes is reasonable (or if you want to be market-based about it, charge a bike 2 people's worth of tickets). - Piaw Na
+1 Wirehead! I am one of the few SJ residents that actually uses public transit, and even I think extending BART down here is stupid. VTA has cut buses people were actually riding to free up money for this nonsense that a) won't happen and b) wouldn't be used much, even if it did. Caltrain is great, love riding it, wish it were easier to get access. - Lo
If crowding is a problem, it would be better to add cars to trains and run more frequently. I can see banning bikes on certain routes or special occasions, but not for the whole system. - John (bird whisperer)
I know a couple BART train conductors - apparently at peak times BART is already running the trains with as many cars and as often as they can safely do. The system was opened in 1974. It was designed in an era where people in this region weren't as conscious of what public transit could and should be. That said, I think a lot of the pressure to ban bikes during commute hours comes from non-cyclist BART passengers. Even during non-commute times I get dirty looks for bringing my bike on and trying to stay out of the way as much as possible. 'Til the problem is solved, a folding bike is your best bet. Brompton makes the best. Dahon makes the cheapest. - Spidra Webster
@Spidra I wouldn't be surprised, what with so many BART routes running through the same few tracks within SF proper. - Andrew C (✔)
That said, it seems to me that BART is a weird cross between local and commuter rail. - Andrew C (✔)
I used to commute via Caltrain and I'm kinda over it. I'd rather get to the south bay under 40 minutes (driving time, btw) than the 1:20 it takes on the train. I think bay area rail has to realize: that to convert car drivers to rail, they need to make it fast and easy. - anna sauce
The Baby Bullet Caltrain runs are great. I think the problem is that with only two (?) lines, they simply can't run express trains all the time. - Andrew C (✔)
It's not a system-wide ban on bikes during commute hours. It does, to some extent, vary by route. It's a little complicated but, in general, bikes are banned from San Francisco-bound lines. You can take a bike on a morning eastbound train if you board at that should work for you, Anna. Also, to respond to Piaw's comment: as a cyclist, I wouldn't want to bring a bike on board to a crowded rush hour train, even if I could. It's just not nice. The point isn't to allow bikes with the existing car configurations, but to create car configurations that would allow for it. Like I said, having 1 or 2 SRO cars during commute hours would mean plenty of space for bikes and standing pedestrian passengers. As it is, during crowded commute trains a good 50% of the passengers are standing, anyway. In the end, if BART could figure out a way to allow for bikes on board, it would make it possible/attractive for far more people to ride BART. And increased ridership benefits all riders. - Chester
Chester- yeah the notice on the bart turnstile says no bikes in commuer hours, but I'm off the hours anyways, still it made me post this original thing. Glad it's not system-wide, still it's awful PR. - anna sauce
anna, they need to make it easy but when the system was designed, they didn't. So we're left with a chicken or the egg problem. They don't have the $ to change until they have the ridership fares to do it and the riders won't come until the changes are made. Personally, I make the sacrifices I can to encourage movement from both ends. I support public transit and rail transit via advocacy groups and my vote, and I sold my car and take public transit when I don't feel like walking/biking where I'm going. - Spidra Webster
Spidra, yeah I support public transport in almost every political facet, but this got my goat. I just don't see bay area commuters- the people next to me on the 6-mile stint of the bay bridge, for instance- going the bike route if they have heard that bikes aren't allowed on Bart. I mean, there's a body of water inbetween two of the larger cities in the bay area, we have to make it accessible and easy! - anna sauce
People may grouse about it but they don't hit the streets protesting for more $ for public transit, more $ in the fed budget for trains, a change in CalTrans budgeting, etc. But they *will* hit the streets if their football or basketball team wins a title. Priorities. - Spidra Webster
I mean, true, but I also rally around it just as a general advertising theme. Like, critical mass works, but in a way it doesn.t The only people who see it are those walking, and drivers who have negative connotations (as they're sitting in their cars forever). Getting the word out to the millions of people in their cars, alone, during commutes... that's the goal, and making it simple and easy, of course. - anna sauce
I wrote up my rant about what's wrong with the BART... The problem with western transit systems is that transit-accessibility is not a concern with our city layouts. Thus, pretty much the only way to hack a transit system out of what we've got available to us is to make it a bike + transit system. - Wirehead
Wirehead, great article. BTW, I was told by a longtime resident that back in the day, BART didn't come down to the south Bay because the local powers that be didn't want transit riders coming down there. - Andrew C (✔)
Oh yes- Santa Clara County has been (or was, when I lived there) super resistant to BART coming south. - anna sauce
Mark- totally. It's not that BART is the end-all solution, it's part of a mulitple-transit system. But disallowing or discouraging bikes means people just can't use it. - anna sauce
Wirehead- not sure if your'e supporting CalTrain or just anti-BART, or open to new options? I've heard the gage (gauge?) argument against CalTrain too. I'm really not a fan of that line. I wish we'd just toss it and put in a faster one. It's just *so slow*. - anna sauce
Mostly, I think that the way we do mass transit in the bay area is stupid. Which isn't so much about being pro-CalTrain or anti-BART, just anti-stupid. You could lay CalTrain-styled rail between SJ and Fremont and call it BART and it wouldn't be a bad thing. You could lay CalTrain-styled rail and call it "EastBayTrain" and it would only be worse because we've already got enough transitions between different transit agencies that TransitLink failed at solving. - Wirehead
I dono, CalTrain's baby bullet is fairly decently fast. It's just that you have to plan your transit route around catching the bullet. The big thing holding back CalTrain from going even faster is mostly electrification.... which is a pittance compared to the things you'd need to do to make BART faster. :) - Wirehead
... has the Translink smart card system been adopted by Muni and BART yet? I mean, it's only been 21 years since the smart card project was initiated. - Andrew C (✔)
I believe it works for MUNI, not for BART (I think) - anna sauce