Today, BART announced that it will conduct a pilot to remove the ban on bikes during rush hour commutes. This is huge news for the tens of thousands of people commuting—or wanting to commute—regionally by bike. Until now, BART has had a “bike blackout” period during morning and evening commute hours. The blackout has made regional bike challenge difficult for the growing number of people who want to bike to work.
The pilot program will be in effect all Fridays in August—for morning and evening commute. While a relatively short pilot, this is a great step toward opening up regional travel by bike and in keeping with BART’s new forward-thinking Bicycle Plan.
“We commend BART’s forward-looking response to the growing number of people combining bicycle and BART trips in the Bay Area,” says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, a 12,000-member nonprofit promoting bicycling for everyday transportation. “Making it easier for people riding bikes to use BART at all hours is a smart direction for the region’s leading transportation provider.”
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has a long history of working for and achieving better bike access on regional transit. In the 1990’s, we helped eliminate the BART bike permit that required you to buy a pass to bring your bike on board. We helped win bikes on board Caltrain and we continue to push for better bike access on both BART and Caltrain.
Help Make this Permanent
The success of this pilot is contingent in large part on bike riders being courteous and respectful to all BART riders on these pilot Fridays. Here are a few reminders to help us convince BART to make this pilot permanent (also good advice for every time you ride BART):
● If the car is full wait for another train, and do not try to wedge a bike into a crowded car.
● Refrain from holding doors to get your bike inside, as this delays the train.
● Be mindful of your fellow riders and make your are leaving other people adequate space.
● When possible use the designated “bike space” on the cars that have it.
● Yield to pregnant, disabled and elderly passengers.
● A complete list of bikes on BART rules are here: http://bart.gov/guide/bikes/bikeRules.aspx.
Congratulations to BART and all of our members and partners–including the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, Bikes on Board–who have worked for so long to expand bike access on Bay Area transit! Now it’s time to win full-time access for bikes on BART. By being a good ambassador on BART with your bike on these August pilot Fridays you are helping to make our City and our region more accessible by bike. Let’s show BART that permanently lifting this rush hour ban on bikes will increase ridership and make BART accessible to all.
BART plans to monitor this pilot program and assess its effects on customer comfort, satisfaction and train operations. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will help BART recruit volunteers to assist with the monitoring. Through monitoring, we can help show BART that this can work all the time.
If you’d like to help with this important project and are available during morning or evening rush hours on August Fridays, email email@example.com to volunteer. Volunteers are crucial to work side-by-side with BART staff and collect rider feedback each Friday during the pilot. More specifics on exact shift times and a date for training will be available shortly.
To learn more about bikes on BART, visit sfbike.org/bart