New in 2012!

January 20, 2012

We were thrilled to unveil our free Wi-Fi service at the end of 2011, but we’re not done launching new, customer-focused projects. By spring 2012, we will join Caltrain in opening the new Santa Clara/University Station and show off the renovations at San Jose – Diridon Station. We will also partner with Amtrak on an e-Ticketing program (print-at-home ticketing) by March 2012.

CCJPA’s Bike Storage Educational Period Begins February 1

You may have heard or read public comments about the Capitol Corridor’s Joint Powers Authority’s (CCJPA) new on board bike storage policy. I want to clarify that on February 1, 2012 we will start our “get acquainted period” to help educate riders who bring bikes on board the importance of proper bike storage. We will begin implementing the new policy several months afterwards in order to give riders time to prepare and acclimate to proper bike storage practices that allow for adequate access and safety.

This policy change is an issue we have been wrestling with as a result of our growing ridership and the corresponding increase in bike usage over the past few years. Quite simply put, the increased use of bicycles in correlation with more riders has outpaced our capacity to safely accommodate so many bikes on board the trains. The CCJPA’s top priority is safety, and in this instance it is not just a viewpoint; it is mandated by compliance with basic operations regulated by federal law and enforced by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

During this educational period, for safety reasons and to acquaint bike riders with the upcoming policy, conductors may “tag” those bikes that aren’t properly secured or stowed in such a way that prevents accessing the aisle ways. We’re giving cyclists several months to learn about how to properly stow their bikes in accordance with the upcoming policy.

Upcoming Bike Policy

Several months from now, when the Capitol Corridor’s new bike policy is in place, passengers who board trains with bikes will be required to:

  • Secure bicycles to prevent the sudden or uncontrolled movement of bikes in the event of a sudden train stop; and
  • Store bicycles so that all passengers (including those in wheelchairs) can safely navigate the train aisle-ways.

Why the Change?

For the past four years we have seen bike ridership surge. More and more riders are bringing bikes on board; however, bicycle storage demand has outpaced our available space and compromised our ability to stay in compliance with FRA regulations. This means that we must implement solutions aimed to keep bikes secured on our trains, while allowing passengers (especially riders who use wheelchairs) to safely navigate through the train.

We’re looking at other solutions to increase bike storage, including working with Caltrans on possible car modifications; however, like buying new rail cars, train car modifications take time. In the meantime, we are obligated to address a very important issue: with more people on the trains, there is an increased demand for bike storage.

We urge bike riders to help us make our trains safe for all passengers. Conductors are our partners in this goal and will soon be trained to manage bike storage on the trains, refer passengers to our website for an explanation of the new bike policy and help identify safe bike storage solutions. On this page you’ll learn details of the reasons for the policy, what we’ve done to address the issue and ways you can help. For example, you may want to consider switching to a folding bike, an option that many transit systems encourage as folding bikes use less storage space.

Again, our goal is to make travel on the Capitol Corridor a safe, positive experience for all.

3 thoughts on “New in 2012!”

  1. Hello,

    I have several questions about the new policy and information period.

    1. Will non-bike riders who put luggage in bike storage areas have their luggage tagged too? Just today I got on board a car to find the entire bike area covered in luggage, some were small backpacks which could easily have fit in overhead storage and others which would have fit in the car’s luggage-only storage area. When riders use the bike storage areas for luggage unnecessarily, the bike problem is exacerbated.

    2. If there is no bike storage available, either because of luggage or bikes, will cyclists boarding the train be turned away? If there are no bike slots, what can a rider do? The bikes_on_board page says that conductors will help cyclists find a place for their bike, but I have not observed this when I have ended up seated on the lower level. Instead I saw cyclists making do on their own, for better or worse. Furthermore, this is the old policy, will it be carried over to the new?

    3. Will cyclists have their tickets taken before their bike is secure and they have guaranteed they will be riding the train? I recall one incident where I was having difficulty getting my bike secure with the luggage in the bike storage. A conductor stopped me as I was trying to secure my bike to demand I present my ticket, though I had my hands full lifting the bike.

    4. If someone has “secured” their bike to mine, will the conductor help me safely access my bike at my stop? If there are problems, will I be able to get off at my stop or will the train continue? I have found other people’s bikes bungee’d to mine and have been concerned if I could retrieve my bike without causing a safety hazard while still being able to disembark at my stop.

    Thank you.

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  2. This article seems to leave the burden entirely on cycling passengers to properly store their bikes. While I agree that people should be responsible for their bikes, Capitol Corridor staff also could use some improvement when it comes to the knowledge and organization of bike storage on their trains.

    For example, I often see conductors directing everyone with a bicycle to the “bike car” even when there is a lack of space available in that car and plenty of bike rack spots in other cars. The “bike car” is highly inconsistent from train to train – it might be in the front, the back, or not there at all. Capitol Corridor usually allows less than 60 seconds to board the train and it can be a pretty frantic experience if one has to move from car to car looking for a bike spot. Inconsistent, incomplete, or even flat out wrong information from conductors does nothing to help.

    In one truly disturbing incident that occurred in Berkeley a couple months ago, a woman was directed to lock her bike at the station’s bike racks before reboarding the train, and then the train pulled away with her other belongings on board while she was locking up her bike!

    In conclusion, the following is the least that could be asked of Capitol Corridor staff:

    – Know how many bike spots are available on each car.
    – Do not direct bike-carrying passengers to the “bike car” when spots are available on closer cars.
    – Do not allow the bike storage area to be used for other types of luggage on runs with high bike demand. There are other luggage racks available for suitcases, etc.
    – Provide advance information at stations on whether a “bike car” will be available on the next train and where it will be available. Even better, provide advance information on *how many* bike spaces will be available in each car of the train.
    – If passengers need to disembark to lock up their bikes, wait for them.

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  3. Please expand bike parking so all of your loyal bike customers can continue to get to work and school. And continue to allow all bike customers onboard, regardless of capacity! Thanks-East Bay Bicycle Coalition

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