BART's 'bikes on board' pilot program starts today

March 18, 2013 7:35:07 PM PDT
Monday marks the first day of a week-long experiment on BART that aims to test whether bicyclists and other passengers can share the trains during peak commute hours.

BART is trying to accommodate all of its ridership but, even some bike riders acknowledge that train cars can get very crowded. They note that the problem gets worse during the evening commute.

To find a solution, the transit agency is allowing bikes on BART trains at any hour this week although they may not always be welcome.

"They're constantly in the way. They take up two or three chairs," said passenger Joe Olivo.

"If you commute around 5 p.m., definitely not a good idea to have them because it's really crowded," said passenger Soltan Ashofta.

BART officials have said that they have reconfigured their trains to try and create more space for bike riders.

"There are some that we removed seats. We also took out the windshields in many of our cars so you can see now when you ride a BART train that the areas near the car doors are much more roomier," said BART spokesperson Luna Salazar.

Bike riders are thrilled to be able to board whenever they want. Rider John Cole usually can't go straight home after work because his bike hasn't been allowed on BART at the time he commutes home.

"It makes me wait another 20 minutes and it's kind of hard," he said.

BART previously tried allowing bikes aboard last August and a survey then resulted in a tie.

"We had 37% opposed to [allowing bikes on during commute hours] and 37% for changing the rules. So that's why BART needs this second test," said Salazar.

Officials highly recommend that rider participate in a survey after this test week. They say the BART board will pay attention to rider feedback.

"I think they really want to see how this test week goes. But we do have many board members that are passionate about bikes just as our cyclists are," said Salazar.

You can call BART and express your opinion at 1-888-743-9921 up until April 3.


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