I do see both sides to this bike dilemma: BART is sometimes not the most bike-friendly service, yet at the same time, how can BART fit all these bikes during peak hours. With gas prices still on this ridiculous rise, the problem will only get worse as more commuters turn to cheaper alternatives. Today, I rode the the train towards the end of peak hours where bikes were allowed onboard. I was just tired and have a long day at work ahead...so decided to take an extra 15 minutes at home in the morning to finish up my morning smoothie.
Typically, whenever I have the luxury of taking this slightly later train, I do see 2 or 3 bikes per car, and they don't really get in the way. However, today, there were 7 FULL-sized bikes in my car and boy, did it get crowded!!
The riders looked like college students and their bikes immediate blocked both doors and the aisles. They insisted on being in the same car, but I looked in the car in front and in back...both had a few bikers in them so it didn't make sense for me to ask a few of them to move cars since it would just crowd another car.
I felt like I was inside a bike garage. I was seated but every few minutes, a bike wheel rolled over my feet, or a bike handle bar jammed in my face. A few other passengers actually moved cars because our car just became a crammed-up bike garage. I was too tired and cemented in my seat that I decided to observe all the way so I have some material for the blog.
The bikers were definitely biking rookies as they didn't even move their bikes to let people out at Embarcadero and Montgomery. Passengers were not happy, as they tiptoed around the bikes just to get out. At Civic Center, it was practically just me and the bikes, and one of the bikers straight stepped on me as she was trying to maneuver her way to an empty seat. That just about did it for me...before I walked out of the train, I said to them politely but instructionally, "You guys should have split into two groups or something so you don't block the train doors. And generally, there is an bike etiquette, you're supposed to stay out of the way to let people in and out of the trains. Is this your first time?"
Their reply was "Yes, this is our first time taking BART. We'll be doing this all summer. They'll be more of us riding bikes to classes together."
They're innocent and learning...I couldn't say much more but, "Good for you. Way to be green."
Bike ridership on BART will only increase with these outrageous gas prices and now with summer vacations! I guess the rest of us will just have to put up with bike-packed train rides.