Caltrain Needs More Bike Capacity Now

Last month, we highlighted what it means to get “bumped” off Caltrain, an issue which affects people’s daily lives, especially when it comes to getting to work or coming back home.  The number of people wanting to bring their bike onboard is far outpacing the growth of overall Caltrain ridership, with 13% of passengers now bringing their bike onboard. More people combining bikes and transit is good for all of us — as the city and region experience a huge population growth, bikes and transit allow people to get around and have more options of where they work or live while minimizing the stress on our streets and our environment. Despite this, people denied boarding Caltrain with their bikes is at an all time high.


Problem: Passengers can’t bring their bike on Caltrain.

Solution: Increase onboard bicycle capacity on Caltrain.

Increasing bike capacity is even more timely now that Caltrain plans on purchasing new trains to handle the growing ridership. However, when our Golden Wheel awardee and Bikes ONBoard leader Shirley Johnson sent a letter to Caltrain urging them to use this opportunity to increase capacity, this was the response she received:

Cyclists also may want to adjust their schedules to ride trains with adequate bike capacity.

We are disappointed to see that rather than directly addressing the issue of bike capacity, Caltrain is asking their passengers to rearrange their schedule. We have heard from members that the repeated bumps mean they now drive to work, adding more congestion on the freeways, and moving away from sustainable transportation. Caltrain has proposed to increase bike parking at their stations, which is helpful for some but doesn’t address the problem for the many who need their bike for the last mile to and from their destination point and can’t afford two bikes.

This is the time to be heard. Please take a moment to write a letter to Caltrain today to urge them to increase their bicycle capacity as they plan their purchase for new train cars. This template will get you started.


Subject: Caltrain Needs More Bike Capacity

As part of the new purchase of Bombardier cars, I strongly encourage Caltrain to retrofit the new cars to make them bike cars. I am excited by the purchase and the opportunity to address the growing ridership, especially as more and more people are denied access onboard due to limited bike capacity.

[Please include details of your Caltrain experience, especially if you’ve been denied boarding in the past. Also include information about yourself and where you commute to and from by Caltrain.]

Your letter will be considered a registered public comment, but if you’d like to tell the Board directly, they will be discussing this issue on Thursday at their offices in San Carlos.

Joint Powers Board Meeting
Thursday, August 7 at 10AM
1250 San Carlos Ave., 2nd Floor, San Carlos, CA

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and our Bikes ONBoard committee continues to be hard at work making sure Caltrain takes this issue seriously. In the meantime, consider handing this to your boss.

Caltrain tardy pass


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