Interesting discovery on my ride home this evening on the Amtrak Capitol Corridor. The car I was on had a new bicycle rack, with space for seven bikes. Six passenger seats had been removed to install the racks.
I use the Capitol Corridor daily, bicycling less than a mile to the Sacramento Valley Station, taking the train 16 miles to Davis, and bicycling 1.5 miles to my office at UC Davis. (Most days I bicycle home, about 17 miles.)
The Capitol Corridor has attracted record ridership the past few months, including more bicyclists squeezing into the existing on-board bicycle storage space. When the three vertical spaces in most standard cars have been full, the conductors have indulged overflow bicycles, a special problem on the commute-hour trains between Sacramento and Davis. This crowding prompted me to buy a Giant Halfway folding bike, in anticipation of eventual Caltrain-style bicyclist bumping when on-board capacity limits are reached.
The Capitol Corridor is an outstanding service for multimodal bike commuters. From the Capitol Corridor website: "Bicycles are welcome aboard Capitol Corridor trains. You can find bicycle racks on the lower level of most coach cars. If all racks are full, notify the conductor. The conductor will identify a place for you to safely secure your bike. Please carry a bungee cord with you, to use in securing your bike."
Many of the bicyclists bringing their bikes on-board the Capitol Corridor might prefer not to. Secure bicycle parking is sadly lacking at most Capitol Corridor stations. BikeStation style bike parking facilities would certainly attract many bicyclists, especially in Sacramento, San Jose, and Oakland.
As gas prices trend higher in the long-term, more multimodal bicycle commuters will be crowding on board transit. It's great to see some innovative thinking to expand capacity.
Images: Paul Dorn
Visit: Have your bike and ride it, too, Mother Earth News
Visit: Loading bike on train requires feat of strength, Arizona Republic
Visit: Bikes crowding onto transit, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Bikes on Board Amtrak's Capitol Corridor, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Amtrak Capitol Corridor celebrates 15 years, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
Monday, October 13, 2008
Posted by Paul Dorn at 7:55 PM