Bay Area bicycle commuters will have the opportunity to bring their ?bikes on board? BART for a second phase of testing during the work week of Monday, March 18 through Friday, March 22.
Bay Area Rapid Transit, BART, initially held a test phase of a modified bike access program in August 2012, allowing bikes in all stations and on trains at all hours on every Friday. Currently, BART policy limits bicycle access to non-commute hours only.
?Our first pilot offered us great insight, but Fridays in August tend to be slow, and another round of testing and customer feedback is required before permanent changes to our bike access policy are considered,? BART Board President Tom Radulovich said in statement.
Commuters from all over the Bay Area travel by BART, which connects San Francisco to the East Bay and northern Peninsula. The average weekday ridership is around 360,000 riders, according to a BART report. Expanding bicycle access will not only grow BART ridership, it will help San Francisco get more people on bikes, thus improving commuter traffic?something bicycle advocates on both sides of the bay are excited about.
“We heard from countless bike riders on both sides of the Bay that the August pilot opened up regional commuting by bike for both experienced bike riders and those wanting to give it a try for the first time,? Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said in a statement. ?We applaud BART for instituting this week-long March pilot removal of the bicycle blackout period and look forward to helping make it a success for both those who ride bikes and those who don’t.?
The new test run will not allow bikes on any of the first three cars of each train during the commute hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. At no time are bikes allowed on the first car of any train. For a full list of bike rules, go to www.bart.gov/bikes
Last year, BART unveiled its Bicycle Plan, which encourages its riders to bike to a station as opposed to driving. Presently, 4% of passengers bike to a station every day, but BART is working towards doubling that number by 2022.
“Expanding access and parking for bicyclists encourages riders to ditch their cars, freeing up car parking spaces for those who have no other option than driving,” BART Board Member Robert Raburn stated. “BART is installing more bike lockers and racks monitored by security cameras, but when bike parking is filled the remaining option is to bring the bicycle on board.”
Photos courtesy of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Flickr account.