On Monday, April 4, Caltrain officially launched the addition of a third bike car on all Bombardier-style train sets at its “Bikes on Bombardiers Event” held at the San Francisco Caltrain Station. The early morning event featured speeches from bicycle advocates, an energizer station for cyclists and passengers, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the occasion.
For five years, Caltrain has enjoyed consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders. Because of Caltrain’s popularity, trains are often operating at or beyond 100 percent of available capacity.
Capacity is an even bigger issue for bicyclists due to the limited available space onboard trains for these riders. To help improve the situation, Caltrain has added a third bike car to its Bombardier trains, which will increase onboard bike capacity from 48 bikes to 72 bikes. Gallery train sets already accommodate up to 80 onboard bicycles.
"We are thrilled to see one of the country’s most bike-friendly transit systems become even more so. A lot of people in our area use transit to extend the distance that they can bike to work or play," said Shiloh Ballard, Executive Director of Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC), "According to a survey of our members, 45 percent of respondents would drive alone to their destination if they could not bring their bike on board. This increased capacity is a great move to keep people out of their cars and contribute to regional greenhouse gas reduction goals."
"Transportation options define our lives. Where we work, where we live, where we shop and where our kids go to school -- these are all decided in part by the transportation options available to us," said Janice Li, Advocacy Director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC). "Caltrain is unique among the world's commuter rail systems because of how popular biking is among its ridership. The addition of this new bike car shows Caltrain's continued commitment to increasingly delivering the services that passengers need to get around."
Caltrain carries more than 7,000 bikes onboard our trains every weekday. Even with the added capacity, space onboard the trains is limited. In order to sustain and grow the share of our riders who access Caltrain by bike, the agency has also committed to expanding and modernizing our bike parking system.
Caltrain recently kicked off a Bike Parking Management Plan. This Caltrans-funded project will help Caltrain understand the kinds of bike parking that can best serve customers and complement the bikes-on-board program.
The study will also guide Caltrain on how to efficiently deliver and operate bike parking throughout our system. Caltrain staff is coordinating this effort with partner agencies and local jurisdictions along the Caltrain corridor, as well as with the SFBC and SVBC.
In addition, Caltrain has made recent upgrades to its bike parking facility at the San Francisco Caltrain Station.
The valet bike parking facility at the San Francisco Station originally opened in 2007 and in 2013 Bike Hub assumed operation of the facility. Since that time, Bike Hub has used funding from San Francisco’s Prop K to nearly double the facility’s capacity from 120 to 234 bicycles. The sustained success of this parking facility shows how high-quality bike parking options work hand in hand with Caltrain’s bikes onboard program to encourage cycling and provide choices to our customers.
In fall 2014, Caltrain purchased 16 used rail cars in response to the growth in demand on the railroad and significant overcrowding on many of its peak hour trains.
Caltrain recognizes that there is an urgent need for increased capacity throughout the system and is planning to add a sixth car to more trains, following the completion of rehabilitation work on its aging fleet.
To view pictures from today’s “Bikes on Bombardiers Event,” click HERE.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain has enjoyed more than four years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.