The Capitol Corridor Completes eLocker Installation & Plans for Future Bike Growth

December 19, 2017

The Capitol Corridor is excited to announce that BikeLink eLockers are now available at 15 of our stations: Auburn, Roseville, Sacramento, Davis, Fairfield-Vacaville, Suisun-Fairfield, Martinez, Richmond (shared with BART), Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland Jack London, Oakland Coliseum (shared with BART), Hayward, Fremont, and Santa Clara-Great America! Passengers can ride their bike to a station, safely store it, and hop aboard the train.
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Lessons from London Part II

June 27, 2012

Bicycle Blog #4 – Brompton Folding Bike

In London, my “Bikes on Board” research continued as I took a train from London Waterloo Station to Kew Bridge where I could walk to the Brompton folding bicycle factory.  There I met with representatives from the Brompton Dock program. If you google that term and poke around, you will see a smart looking set of lockers that each has room for a Brompton folding bicycle.  The Brompton Dock program is run like a city car share program where one becomes a member and then pays an access fee based on a plan.  If you look up those plan prices, those are UK prices and all set up with for-profit railway operators –if rail operators participated in a program like this, they would be able to customize their access and membership program.  There are just a few Docks out in the world and only in the UK, at this time. Later  this year there will be about 35 more placed in rail stations that feed into London and other locations.  It is still ‘early days’ in this but given the cost of the Brompton Docks, which can be supported with grants that come filled with a certain number of bicycles (more can be ordered), this sort of bicycle lease/membership program seems pretty ideal for Capitol Corridor service. Over the coming year we expect to monitor the expansion in the UK and will do our diligence to see if a system like this is a good match for the Capitol Corridor service.  As we mention on the web site, this is a great way to provide people last mile mobility, promote a healthy green lifestyle, and save space on a train if a bicycle is taken onboard. Like we have said, we love folding bikes!

On June 12, 2012, I arranged another meeting through Hannah to meet with the folks who were responsible for the Cycle Hire program in London.  Audrey Bowerman, a USA transplant from North Carolina, works for TfL and oversees the expansion program for their extensive City Hire program. When I mention extensive (these are the blue Barclays sponsorship bikes shown in the picture above), I do mean EXTENSIVE. When I was on vacation, I rode one of these  and other than a small information flow snafu on the screen, I was off and cycling sans helmet to get back to the hotel.  Later in the day, I used another biketo go see some music. So did I mention extensive? Yes. These stations are EVERYWHERE. So how did they do it and what did it take?

Audrey gladly answered those questions since Capitol Corridor has been thought of by cities as an ideal partner (and hub location) for their own Cycle Hire concepts. And even a CCJPA Board member asked about this for Capitol Corridor as we were discussing the options for dealing with bicycle crowding on the train. From my experience “extensive” is the operative word for London’s program. This was truly a massive effort tailor made for London’s travel patterns and some travel patterns that simply can’t be addressed such as the demand for these at train stations – there simply are not possibly enough open spaces for these at the train stations serving London to keep up with demand. All in all, what I saw here and knowing land use patterns, travel origin-destinations in the cities we serve, a good match for a Cycle Hire program may be more difficult to come by. Thus, it does seem like the Brompton Dock solution may be a better fit for the Capitol Corridor as it has more immediate advantages. In addition, we can certainly support and engage with cities along the route who may look to our service as a natural partner.

My final research meeting was with Peter Bowes of Virgin Trains. Peter was part of the team that helped to establish a Brompton Dock at the Manchester-Piccadilly Station located several hours away from London.  He described how their initial launch was going and how they were looking to go in even deeper with the Brompton Dock moving ahead and with the stations/communities they served.

All in all, a busy two days of bikes and trains, with me getting around using London’s amazing transit system.

Bicycle Access Program

April 10, 2012

Welcome to Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority’s (CCJPA) very first  Bicycle Blog entry! If you want to know about bikes on board the Capitol Corridor, you’ve hit the right web page. Launching CCJPA’s official bike blog coincides with the first phase of our  Bicycle Access Program. This blog will be updated at least once a month on issues we need to convey, but honestly many of our bike topics will depend on what’s going on with you.

Jim Allison, Manager of Planning at CCJPA, will be our primary bike blogger, but we intend to feature guest writers from time to time. And since Jim Allison is actually writing this, I will stop referring to myself in the third person because that just gets confusing to everyone.

Some background about why I’ll be the primary bike blogger: I moved from San Francisco to Sacramento in 2006 fully knowing I could reside in Sacramento and regularly ride the Capitol Corridor train with my bicycle to get to/from our CCJPA offices in Oakland (BTW – I am also a regular purchaser of the monthly passes). I ride my bicycle for my commute, I train for and complete (usually) long supported bicycle rides. I use a bicycle when I cart my kids around or pick up groceries. I pretty much ‘get’ the marriage of two wheels to steel wheels. To sustain this union I am circling back to topic #1 for this first blog entry—the launch of our new Bicycle Access Program.

It took over three years to get to this milestone. In late 2008, it was clear then that the use of bicycles with Capitol Corridor service was growing with the rise of gasoline prices and as a weekday rider, I started to see more and more riders who brought or used their bicycles to get to/from the train. It became apparent that Capitol Corridor service was challenged to keep pace with the increasing bicycle storage demand. As a “planner” I knew we had to find a solution. This meant working with CCJPA staff to implement a convenient online survey tool to get insight into how bicycles are used with the Capitol Corridor service. I thank all of those survey respondents who filled in their bicycle trip details from those surveys held in January/February 2011.

From that point, we began working with the owner of the rolling stock (Caltrans Rail Division) and Amtrak (our service operator) to do what we could to meet the demand. We convened a bicycle-working group, which included three actual train riders familiar with bicycle and on-board bicycle storage issues (kudos go to those volunteers and our partners too!) and instigated some immediate changes and worked on the suggestions that evolved into…our 2012 Bicycle Access Program.

Our program is launching on April 10, 2012 with the first phase being an educational phase for the conductors and those of you who may be bringing your bicycle on the train (or even leaving it at a station). We have put the details of the program on our webpage so I won’t repeat them in depth here but in short, there are two aspects – Securing and Storing. I will write more soon but in the meantime, please mind the two “S’s!”