SAN FRANCISCO—On Friday, August 3, BART will launch a pilot program to allow bikes on board its system at all times of day, including the normally restricted “bike blackout” commute hours. The pilot will be in effect all five Fridays in August, including morning and evening commute hours.
If successful, this pilot could pave the way for permanent all day bicycle access on BART, making regional commuting by bicycle easier for the significant and growing number of people biking to work.
“Bicycling is booming on both sides of the Bay. Allowing bikes on BART during peak commute hours opens up cross-bay travel by bike,” says Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the 12,000-member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which worked alongside BART and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition to shape this pilot.
The “Bike Fridays” pilot is just one of BART’s new policies to grow its ridership among bicycle riders. The BART 2012 Bicycle Plan sets out a plan to double their bike mode share over the next decade, by creating better on-site bike parking, improved in-station circulation for bikes, and great bike access in the communities with BART stations.
By instituting this pilot, BART is following the lead of other major cities in removing restrictions to integrating bikes and public transit. New York City, which has nearly 5 million transit trips per day, allows bikes on board its subway lines at all times.
“We commend BART for implementing this pilot. Making it easier for people riding bikes to use BART at all hours is a smart direction for the region’s leading transportation provider as we grow the Bay Area population,” says Shahum.
With the help of San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and East Bay Bicycle Coalition volunteers, BART will monitor and evaluate how this change affects passenger experience and train operations during the pilot.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition offers up a few easy tips to bike riders on BART to help make the pilot a success:
- 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 leave other people adequate space.
- When possible, use the designated “bike space” on the cars that have it.
- Yield to pregnant, disabled and elderly passengers.
To learn more about the BART pilot and history of Bikes on BART, visit sfbike.org/bart
About the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Regional Transit Work
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has a long history of working for and achieving better bike access on regional transit. In the 1990’s, the nonprofit helped eliminate the BART bike permit that required you to buy a pass to bring your bike on board. The organization’s Bikes on Board Caltrain efforts helped expand bike access on that system by more than one-third in the past few years.