Caltrain Expands Bikes Board First Pilot Program


On Monday, June 11, Caltrain will expand the Bikes Board First program to three additional stations.

Bicyclists on the northbound platforms at the Sunnyvale and Hillsdale Stations, and the southbound platform at the 22nd Street Station, will be allowed to board bike cars first. Passengers with bicycles are encouraged to board the bike cars at the southern end of the platform. Caltrain staff will be on hand at those stations to enforce the policy, which would prevent bicyclists from having to navigate through a crowd of riders blocking the entrance. These boardings will be timed and compared to the standard boarding process to determine if this new approach could make overall Caltrain service more efficient.

The initial pilot began in April on northbound platforms at the Mountain View, Palo Alto and Redwood City stations, where boarding times often took well over one minute. During the pilot, those times were decreased to within a desirable range across these stations, with some trains shaving more than a minute from their boarding times. The Bikes Board First policy remains in effect at these stations.

Caltrain staff has found that 66 percent of delays result from issues with boarding passengers, with a substantial amount of which pertaining to bikes boarding. In December 2017, issues related to bike boarding resulted in 1,352 minutes of delays. If the successful results seen in the initial stage of the pilot are replicated, this program could increase on-time performance and increase the efficiency of service throughout the system.

The findings of the expanded pilot, which was crafted with input from the Caltrain Bicycle Advisory Committee and bicycle advocacy groups, will be presented to the BAC after the conclusion of the expanded pilot on Friday, July 13.


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 enjoyed more than five years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 65,000 average weekday riders. 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 system, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations. 

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