Why can’t the seats in the Caltrain bike car be reserved for only bicyclists?
To answer that, Caltrain looks to guidance provided by the federal Department of Transportation.
The Department of Transportation Americans with Disabilities Act regulation 49 Code of Federal Regulations section 37.167(j) requires transit operators to request that riders move to allow an individual with a disability to sit in priority seating and requires the posting of signs identifying priority seats, also stating that able-bodied riders should make seats available to passengers with disabilities. The regulation then goes on to relieve operators of any requirement to force riders who say "no" to moving.
Consistent with 49 CFR section 37.167, Caltrain doesn’t require people sitting in priority seats to move to accommodate individuals with disabilities - who are a protected class. So, to require such movement from non-bike users to accommodate bike riders would be inconsistent, essentially placing the rights of bike riders on a higher level than the rights of people with disabilities.
Why not add extra cars to the train every day?
The rolling stock is not technically designed to be coupled and uncoupled frequently. Also, varying train lengths would make service less reliable for both bike riders and non-bike customers. All customers are entitled to know what they can expect in terms of capacity and bike service when a train arrives at the station at its scheduled time.
How will bike be stored onboard the new electric train?
During August through September 2017, the Caltrain outreach team worked to receive feedback on the onboard bicycle storage design. Various input mechanisms were used to make the final determination, including discussions with local bike advocacy groups; an online poll; station outreach where riders could try out the bike car options; comments though the website; social and earned media; and emails, phone calls, and in-person-engagements. Based on a review of the feedback, the stacking option, which maximizes capacity and is similar to today’s onboard bike storage system, was selected for the new electric trains. To learn more visit CalMod.org/electric-trains.