After relaxing the blackout periods on bikes during Friday’s in the month of August, Bay Area Rapid Transit conducted a survey to gauge passengers’ experiences with the temporarily revised guidelines. According to BART’s Bike Program Manager, Steve Beroldo, “The pilot provided a great opportunity to study and learn how to better accommodate bikes during commute periods.”

During the August test period, BART was able to, “test actual conditions with bikes on board and in stations during the commute period and evaluate the experience from an operational and customer perspective.” Now, with over 7,500 responses from riders, BART’s marketing and research department has acquired feedback on commuter’s opinions of the relaxed restrictions on bikes.

The results of the survey were as follows:

  • 90 percent of respondents reported no problems with letting bikes ride BART at any time of day
  • 37 percent of respondents want to keep the blackouts, while 37 percent want to end them
  • 25 percent want shorter blackout periods
  • 25 percent say they would be more likely to ride BART if the blackouts were lifted while 10 percent say they would be less likely to ride BART if the blackouts were lifted
  • 17 percent say lifting the blackout made their trip worse while 9 percent say it made their trip better

Sifting through the survey’s findings it would appear most passengers weren’t impacted negatively by removing blackout periods. However, the 10 percent who did report problems during the trial period complained of blocked aisles, obstructed doorways and seats, overcrowding on trains, and even being bumped by passengers carelessly maneuvering their bike. Beroldo says, “This information will guide the discussion as we move forward,” and a press release issued by BART states that, “The pilot program also provided valuable lessons on how BART can better accommodate bikes during the busy commute periods.” Ideas for better accommodating bikes include:

  • Reconfiguring car interiors to create more space
  • Directing passengers with bikes on proper queuing procedures and bike etiquette
  • Encouraging cyclists to avoid certain stations that aren’t as bike friendly
  • Providing passengers with data on what trains are the busiest and least crowded

Some of these items could be tackled with a public awareness campaign, while others—like reconfiguring train interiors—would present more of a challenge. Regardless, it’s encouraging to see BART looking at ways to tackle this problem and find a balance between offering cyclists increased access to trains while ensuring these very same riders aren’t disruptive to other passengers.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sfbike/7775102994/

Jason is a regular contributor to the GJEL Accident Attorneys Blog.