BART Test Car Design Compromise Reached

BART Board voted Feb 26 to include improved bike access and open space as part of the test fleet of ten new cars soon to be ordered and they did so because they heard your calls for this improvement. New test cars will have different configurations to help answer two key questions: 1) how will the bike space be designed and 2) how many bike spaces per car will there be?

The vote was a compromise from our preferred option, but is a step in the right direction. BART’s customers will have an opportunity to try out our idea for better organizing people with luggage, strollers and bikes with space at both ends of each car, as currently happens and as shown in the top image here. When the test fleet starts rolling through your town in August 2016, you will get to try out several different interior designs on live cars, and provide feedback to BART on the key issues of seat availability, standing room availability space for your bike, luggage and strollers.

Thank you to the hundreds of supporters who sent emails to the BART Board asking for good bike access at both ends of the cars and to our members who attended the BART Board meeting on Feb 26 and spoke in support. It makes of difference when decision-makers see this level of interest. Also, thanks to Shirley Johnson, leader of the BART Bikes ONboard Program, and to our partners at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition working with us for better bike access on the new test fleet.

What’s next?

BART will soon order ten new test cars with the interior configurations discussed above and these cars will eventually be placed into service the 2nd half of 2016, for customer feedback. In the meantime, BART staff are devising a survey methodology to fully evaluate how the test fleet of cars are received by the public. Bike East Bay will work closely with BART on this survey to ensure useful results are gathered on the issue of having space for bikes at both ends of the cars.

What you can do?

When you ride BART, observe how the bike space and open space near the doors work for you and your bike, but also how this space works for other customers. We know BART customers like to stand in the open space area, and people with luggage and strollers also use this space. Yet, the open space currently for bikes takes out 4 seats. This seat reduction, along with seat removal for wheelchair space, has reduced BART’s seating capacity per car from over 70 seats to 58 seats currently, and anywhere from 50-54 seats per car for the test fleet.

Keep in mind what BART considers their “Target Issues,” issues that include seat availability, standing room availability and space for luggage, bikes and strollers. All three of these issues fall within BART’s high priority area for improvements, based on customer surveys and complaints. Yet, the more seats BART provides, the less room there is to stand and position luggage, bikes and strollers. BART Directors weigh these factors all the time. How can you help?

OAKLAND - BART riders seem to have adjusted to bicycles on trains at all times, with complaints down despite more bicycles and generally more riders since new rules were implemented in 2013, according to a new survey by BART

In 2013, BART abandoned rules banning bicycles from BART cars during busy commute hours after several pilot test periods. 

A survey of 2,300 riders presented at today’s Board of Directors meeting found there were 3,800 more weekday BART trips with bicycles from 2012 to 2014, an increase of more than 20 percent.

Full story at Contra Costa Times