SAN CARLOS (KCBS) – Passengers can often be bumped from an airline flight but now, it seems to be happening more and more often for some commuters on Caltrain.
The term “bumped” is when a passenger is denied boarding due to a lack of onboard capacity. Riders with bikes are feeling the brunt, with many denied access because of a lack of space on trains. Caltrain rider Enrique Carmona said it’s a growing problem.
“During the weekdays, they might add another car. And during the peak time, when it’s really busy, maybe they can add another car,” he said.
That seems like a simple solution. But not so said Christine Dunn with Caltrain.
“We just don’t have any extra trains,” Dunn said. “We’re using all of our available equipment. Every time we put a bike rider and their bike onboard a train, we have to take out a seat.”
Kristin Smith with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said they are hoping Caltrain can come up with a suitable solution. “What we’re really asking Caltrain is, get more capacity, whether that means having a new bike car design that would accommodate more bikes, or adding an extra bike car to it,” said Smith. “It’s clear that more and more people want to be combining bikes and transit.”
The SF Bicycle Coalition said Caltrain has long been a proponent of bike access on transit. The first dedicated bike car was introduced in 1992 and now, all trains have two dedicated bike cars. Despite this, bike passengers are still getting bumped on a daily basis, with an increase over the last three months.