Trains and bikes in Texas.
- From http://www.trainnews.com/ Dawson
The Trinity Railway Express' new bilevel trains can hold 168 passengers and
a few bicycles.
That's good news for Irving resident Rudy Orozco, who works at Southern
He rides two miles daily to the West Irving commuter rail station. Then, the
recently extended TRE and Dallas Area Rapid Transit's light-rail trains go
to work for him.
"This is the only way I can make it to work," said Mr. Orozco, whose job as
a custodian supervisor requires him to arrive before many buses start
"I rode on that train Saturday," said Mr. Orozco, who is biking and riding
the rails while his car is repaired. "There's a lot of space for bicycles."
As DART and the TRE expand service, biking and riding the rails to work
could become more popular, transit officials say. Advocates for regional
bike and pedestrian networks see pent-up demand.
"A whole lot of people actually rely on bicycles," said Bud Melton, a board
member and past president of the Texas Trails Network. "They're the ones in
work shirts and jeans who get out there every morning and ride to their
Several bicyclists have been spotted testing the commute from the Dallas
area to the TRE's new stop at the CentrePort/DFW Airport station. DART and
the Fort Worth Transportation Authority opened a 17-mile commuter rail
extension to Tarrant County last week. The commuter rail service has
attracted almost 6,000 riders a day.
But increased popularity of bicycle commuting could create a problem for
DART. The agency does not allow people to carry bicycles on local buses or
light-rail trains during peak travel times from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 3 to 6
p.m. Bicycles are allowed on express-service bus routes because they can be
stowed in a cargo compartment.
Mr. Orozco also reports no problems carrying his bike on the older silver
commuter rail trains. Those trains don't have dedicated bike space, but
attendants help him find a space to store his pedal-powered vehicle.
Regardless of the route, all bicyclists must apply for a free bike permit to
allow them to carry on their equipment. About 300 people have obtained the
permits. The application is available on the DART Web site, www.DART.org.
Transit police officers have questioned Mr. Orozco in the past, and one has
threatened to issue him a ticket for violating the rush-hour bike rule. He
said he tries to ride on trains that have plenty of room. If more riders get
on, he said he considers getting off and waiting for the next train. Some
police officers have asked him to step off the train once it gets crowded.
"Everybody needs to exercise good judgment in these cases, and it looks like
they have," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said. "Our first priority is to make
sure there is room for our customers."
Mr. Lyons and Mr. Melton noted that regional planners continue to work on a
regional bike-trail network, called a veloweb, that could funnel more
traffic into train stations.
The recently opened portions of the Katy Trail north of downtown to near
Central Expressway are examples of projects meeting demand. Other projects
have been planned for Arlington, northeast Tarrant County and more suburban
"When the trails are all ultimately tied together, there will be a nice
system that will do more to bring customers to DART than they ever
imagined," Mr. Melton said.
DART needs to do more to provide bike racks at its train stations, he said.
The transit agency provides 66 bike lockers for rent at selected stations.
Nineteen bicyclists have rented lockers so far, Mr. Lyons said.
Ft. Worth, TX