Bikes on BART: Pilot Project Launches This Friday

This is Part III in a continuing series on cyclists’ efforts to gain full access to BART.

BART’s historic Bike Pilot Project starts this Friday and continues on all five Fridays in August.

For the first time since BART began carrying passengers 40 years ago, bicyclists will be able to take their bikes on any BART train and to or from any BART station–at any hour. 

BART will end its bike blackouts entirely for a limited trial period–just on the five Fridays in August. 

The no-bike-blackouts pilot will look like this:

1.  There will be no bike blackouts on Fridays: August 3, 10. 17, 24. and 31.

2. Cyclists can board any BART train in any directionas long as there is sufficient room. (Just as at any other time.)

3. Cyclists will be allowed on all station platformsincluding San Francisco’s Embarcadero station plus the 12th Street and 19th Street stations in Oakland—during the trial Fridays.

4. All other bike-related rules will apply during the pilot: there will be no other special treatment for cyclists and no bikes allowed on escalators. 

Renee Rivera, Executive Director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, lists several great suggestions for cyclists in her July 27 blog post.

Usurping wheelchair spaces is always illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act and against BART rules.

This Bikes-on-BART rule is always in effect, with or without a pilot project:

“Regardless of any other rule, bikes are never allowed on crowded cars. Use your good judgment and only board cars that can comfortably accommodate you and your bicycle. Hold your bike while on the trains.” 

It may seem obvious that everyone is helped by “good judgment” and common courtesy when sharing crowded BART stairways, elevators, platforms, and trains. According to the June 8 memo from the General Manager to BART’s Directors:

“The goal of the pilot program is to test the impact on passengers and train operations of having bikes in the stations and on the trains during peak periods. Allowing bikes on board at all times can make BART more convenient for people and potentially increase ridership. (Emphasis added.)

The pilot will be evaluated from an operational perspective, from the perspective of bike riders, and from the perspective of non-bike riding passengers…If the pilot demonstrates…potential to ease the restrictions…we will begin the process with… our bicycle and access committees and bring suggested changes to the Board for discussion.” 

Under current BART policy,  only bicyclists are banned during peak commute periods. Passengers with luggage, baby strollers, or wheelchairs are never excluded as user groups from rush hour BART trains.

BART’s turnaround on bike policy has been a long time in coming.  The August pilot project is one of several initiatives by  BART’s impressive General Manager, Grace Crunican. As the first BART GM to come from a transit background and not from heavy-rail transportation, she has a very different perspective on bikes–and many other issues–than her predecessors, which explains why the pilot is taking place now.

BART’s bike pilot is historic–take your bike on BART on Fridays next month and tell BART about your experienceMembers of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition will be at many BART stations to monitor the pilot during the no-blackout/trial days.

Or attend next Monday’s meeting of the BART BIcycle Advisory Task Force (BBATF) 6-8 PM on August 6, in Room 171 of  the Joseph P. Bort Metro Center, 101 Eighth Street in Oakland. It’s across the street from Lake Merritt BART. (Bike parking is available inside.)

The pilot project is great news for Bay Area bicyclists and for those who want BART to be more responsive to rider needs. And many BART staffers support these changes, too.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have represented Alameda County on the BART Bicycle Advisory Task Force (BBATF) for about a year. My comments here are solely my own: they do not represent the official or unofficial views of BART, the BBATF, or any of its members.

Look for more about Bikes on BART in this space, coming soon.

If you have news, questions, tips, or comments about any aspect of local transportation, contact us or leave a comment.

Advertisements