Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Train 'n Wheels: the Perfect Commute?

Wired's Autopia blog has a good story on what is being dubbed 'the benefits of bicycle transit trips':


We love public transportation. We also love bikes. Judging by a recent increase in bike rides to and from public transportation known as "transit trips," American commuters are starting to feel the same way. "Transit trips are way up," Tim Blumenthal, head of the national bike advocacy group Bikes Belong, told "More buses have racks on the front, and more light rail and subways are allowing bicycles on board even during peak hours." According to Blumenthal, the benefits of bicycle transit trips are huge: commuters lose weight while the air gets cleaner, and highways get less crowded while America starts to recover from its oil addiction.

San Francisco's Caltrain commuter rail service was one of the pioneers in bringing "bikes on board," dedicating certain cars of each train for bikes and allowing up to 64 bike commuters to ride their own bikes to and from work (video after the jump). The program took off, and also took some cars off the road: 80% of cyclists who started taking Caltrain only did so after they could bring their bikes along. "Caltrain has for awhile now provided exemplary bike service," Andy Thornley, Program Director for the San Francisco Bike Coalition (SFBC) told"Other systems have accommodations, but its usually one or two bikes per car."

The program was so successful that demand soon surpassed the supply of bike cars, and non-biking passengers began to complain that their train was overrun by a peloton of two-wheeled commuters. "The success of the program is outstripping the system," Thornley said.

Read more at - 'Train 'n Wheels: the Perfect Commute?'


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