Caltrain unveils nearly worthless plan ignoring bikes on trains
- Published Wednesday, August 13, 2008, by the San Mateo Daily Journal
Caltrain unveils bike plan
By Dana Yates
More bike racks and bike fees could be in store for some San Mateo
County train stations following a bicycle plan released Monday that
indicates 8 percent of customers ride their bikes to and from the
The draft Caltrain Bicycle Parking and Access Plan, originally called
the Bike Master Plan, focuses on ways to improve bicycle access at
Caltrain's 10 most popular stations, including Millbrae, San Mateo,
Hillsdale and Redwood City. The plan outlines ways Caltrain can
improve bike access at the stations and manage the number of bike
riders that flood trains at peak hours.
During peak commute hours, bicyclists are often "bumped" from the
trains, meaning there is no room for their bike and therefore they
must wait for the next train or quickly lock their bike up at the
station. Caltrain has removed 1,000 seats from trains and designated
the northern car of each train for bicyclists and their bikes. On
the older style cars, there are 32 spaces for bikes. On the newer
style cars, there are 16 spaces, according to Caltrain.
The study considers the option of charging an additional bike fee.
There are currently no commuter rail operators in the United State
that charge an extra fee for bicycles brought on board. However,
the Netherlands, Berlin and Vancouver, British Columbia charge fees
ranging from $1 to $8.90, according to the report.
Implementing such a fee would present a logistical challenge under
current operations, according to the report.
Caltrain is a proof-of-payment system on which passengers must pay
fares before boarding. Without real-time information regarding
onboard bike space availability, passengers with bikes could not be
expected to pay a fee for a bicycle space they might not be able to
The idea of paying more to bring a bike on board did not receive high
marks in a 2007 online bicycle survey conducted by Caltrain. Of the
926 respondents, 233 -- or 25 percent -- said they would bring their
bikes on board as much as they currently do; 17 percent would stop
bringing bikes on board; 16 percent would bring bikes on board less
frequently; 12 percent would stop riding Caltrain; 10 percent said
it would depend on the fee; 6 percent would use a folding bike and
3 percent said they would use Caltrain less frequently.
The study suggests Caltrain should consider subsidies to help
customers buy folding bikes that can retail for $500 to $1,000.
Folding bikes can be stored on luggage racks in any car.
The plan also suggests increasing the total number of bike racks and
lockers at the San Mateo County stations. San Mateo bike racks and
lockers could increase from 30 to 49; Hillsdale would increase from
34 to 39; Redwood City would increase from 72 to 106.
The draft plan has been in development for a year. To view the
plan, visit <http://www.caltrain.com/bicycle_master_plan.html>.
[BATN: To get a sense for the issues which Caltrain's attempted
bicycle "Master Plan" attempted to shamelessly sweep under the rug,
see SFBC's excellent "Draft Plan for Bicycle Carriage on Caltrain"
Comments on the draft plan will be accepted until 5 p.m., Tuesday,
Sept. 9. To comment, send an e-mail to bikeplan@... or
write to Caltrain Bicycle Access and Parking Plan, Attn: Planning
and Development, P.O. Box 3006, San Carlos, CA 94070.
The final plan will be presented to the Caltrain board for approval
Dana Yates can be reached by e-mail: dana@... or by
phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.
[BATN: See also:
Caltrain staffers eye fee to reduce riders with bicycles
As demand rises, Caltrain is leaving riders with bicycles behind
Editorial: Caltrain riders may just have to leave bicycles behind
Caltrain takes input on plan to avoid accommodating more bikes
Editorial: Transit must accommodate more riders, more bicycles
Refusing to carry more bikes, Caltrain seeks comments Monday night
Caltrain releases sham ignore-bikes-on-trains Master Plan
Caltrain Bicycle Master Plan