Multi-modal transportation commuters in the San Francisco Peninsula have a reason to be happy. All Caltrain gallery trains have two bike cars, and hold 80 bikes. Some of the trains (the Bombardier cars) still carry just 48 bikes, which is why the San Francisco Bike Coalition still has an active "Bikes on Board" group to monitor the number of people getting bumped and continue to improve the service for cyclists.
June 1, 2011
Just in time for summer, peak bike-riding season, Caltrain has completed a project to ensure that every train is equipped with two bike cars. The $300,000 project was completed six months ahead of schedule.
Caltrain’s older Gallery-car trains are equipped with two bike cars with a capacity for 40 bikes in each car for a total capacity of 80 bikes on each train. The newer Bombardier cars are able to hold 24 bikes per car for a total capacity of 48 bikes per train.
To provide consistent service and facilitate boarding, bike cars are in the same position on every train – one at the northern-most end of the train and one near the middle of the train, two cars north of the locomotive. Bike cars are identified with a yellow bike decal on the outside.
Since 2008, Caltrain has increased on-board bike capacity by more than 50 percent; 70 percent of all trains are now able to accommodate up to 80 bikes.
In 2009, Caltrain reconfigured its bike cars to increase overall capacity by 27 percent. The project was implemented after careful consideration of a number of options for increasing bike capacity.
In 2010, Caltrain formed a Bicycle Advisory Committee to serve as the primary venue for the interests and perspectives of bicyclists. The group is made up of representatives from each of the three counties served by Caltrain: San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara. One member from each county is a public agency staff member responsible for bike planning and/or policy development; one is a representative of a bicycle advocacy organization in the county and one is a Caltrain bike passenger from the general public.
This year, Caltrain amended its youth bicycle policy, allowing children six years and older who are accompanied by an adult to bring a bike on the train. All cyclists must be able to carry their own bike on and off the train. The minimum age was lowered from 12 to encourage families to consider taking Caltrain on outings.
Caltrain first welcomed bikes onboard
trains in 1992 with a pilot program that allowed four bikes on a few
trains. Over the years, the rail agency has made incremental
improvements in capacity. Today, Caltrain’s bike program is a national
model, with the rail agency boasting the most bike-friendly system in
the county. Bikes are allowed on a first-come, first-served basis, with
none of the peak-hour restrictions found on most transit systems.
Ridership on Caltrain is a historic high, with nearly 40,000 riders
boarding the train on an average weekday. Bike riders make up
approximately 3,600 of those customers.
Related articles: League of American Bicyclists newletter