SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A new survey of BART passengers released Monday shows a wider acceptance of allowing bicycles on the transit agency’s trains.
BART officials said a survey of 2,153 people following a pilot program which allowed greater bicycle access during a five-day period in March indicated that most riders felt unaffected by the relaxed policy, as 84 percent said it had no impact on their decision to ride BART and 75 percent said it had little or no effect on their trip.
Under BART’s current rules, bikes aren’t allowed on most trains during commute hours. During non-peak hours, bicycles can be brought on trains but not on the first car.
But during the pilot program, bikes were allowed on all trains at all times. However, during peak commute hours bicyclists weren’t allowed to board the first three cars of any trains to accommodate passengers who wanted to avoid bikes altogether.
BART conducted a previous pilot program last August, in which bikes were allowed on all trains but only on Fridays.
After that test, 37 percent of survey participants said they favored keeping the current bike restrictions but after the test in March only 23 percent said they favor keeping the restrictions.
However, 13 percent of respondents in the March survey reported that they experienced problems with the increased bike access, mainly because of overcrowding.
On the other hand, 81 percent of people said there was enough room or that it was a little crowded but worked out OK.
BART Board President Tom Radulovich said in a statement, “Feedback from our riders suggests most of them are open to modifying bike rules to allow greater access” and 25 percent of those surveyed said they are more likely to ride BART if it relaxed its bike policy.
BART’s bicycle program manager, Steve Beroldo, said staff members will present the survey results to the agency’s board of directors meeting on Thursday, which is Bike to Work day. He said staff also will present BART’s initiatives to improve access to bicyclists.
Beroldo said that at a night meeting on May 23 staff members will present a proposal to allow bikes on all trains at all times, similar to the policy during the pilot program in March.
However, he said it will be up to the board to decide whether BART’s current policy should be changed.
Beroldo said that among the initiatives that BART has been working to better accommodate bikes are reconfiguring train car interiors to make more space for everyone, having “bike waiting” zone decals at select stations with narrow platforms and expanding secure parking at BART stations.
He said other possible initiatives are having signs steering bikes away from escalators, a newly-launched online and mobile train-crowding feature and a bike etiquette poster campaign.
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