I’ve heard rumors through the grapevine (or on the mailing lists, if you want to get technical) that the Amtrak Capitol Corridor trains were considering changing their policies regarding bicycles aboard the trains. Currently, they allow you to take a complete, assembled un-boxed bike on board the train and store it in one of the spaces provided. These spaces include a standing floor rack, or hooks you can hang the bike from. These accommodations vary by train car and equipment set configuration, but cars generally have space for either 3, 8 or 13 bicycles at a time.
Currently, if and when all spaces become full and more bikes want to get on, passengers are allowed to continue to board the train and place their bikes … wherever. There is a walkway with a handrail that has been a particular favorite of many, as well as a large empty spot allocated for wheelchairs.
The rumors flying around are that conductors were going to start denying passengers access if all “official” bike spots were already taken. The facts behind this rumor were revealed in a blog post on the CapitolCorridor website:
You may have heard or read public comments about the Capitol Corridor’s Joint Powers Authority’s (CCJPA) new on board bike storage policy. I want to clarify that on February 1, 2012 we will start our “get acquainted period” to help educate riders who bring bikes on board the importance of proper bike storage. We will begin implementing the new policy several months afterwards in order to give riders time to prepare and acclimate to proper bike storage practices that allow for adequate access and safety.
— David Kurtrosky
Kurtrosky further explained the need for this policy change by citing “…our [Capitol Corridor trains] growing ridership and the corresponding increase in bike usage over the past few years.” However, the official policy statement stops short of saying that people will be denied the right to board, using much gentler language:
Several months from now, when the Capitol Corridor’s new bike policy is in place, passengers who board trains with bikes will be required to:
- Secure bicycles to prevent the sudden or uncontrolled movement of bikes in the event of a sudden train stop; and
- Store bicycles so that all passengers (including those in wheelchairs) can safely navigate the train aisle-ways.
Kurtrosky’s blog post gives further details, and a response to the anticipated “why don’t you make more space for bikes” questions. I’ll personally be keeping a close eye on this, as I’m on the cusp of changing from once weekly commutes to 4 times a week. Of course my bike is an integral part of that commute.
Thanks to VeloReviews member, and fellow Amtrak rider Paul Crescione ( @paulcrescione ) for bringing the Amtrak blog post to my attention