Voices for Lifting the BART Rush-Hour Bike Ban: Bonnie

For decades, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has worked to improve bike access on BART. In 1975, we got the first bikes allowed on BART. In 1996, we succeeded in removing the pesky bike permit process. And most recently, we ushered in two successful pilots to test removing the bike blackout period.

And finally, on May 23, BART will vote on a full lifting of the bike ban, opening up all-day access for bikes!

We’ve heard from countless people on both sides of the Bay that lifting the bike ban would improve their commutes and their lives. Over the next week, leading up to the May 23 vote, we’ll be sharing some of those stories. Here’s Bonnie’s story. Removing the bike ban would allow her to spend more time with elderly mother, cut her commute down tremendously, and leave her car at home more often.

My name is Bonnie Williamson and I commute between SF and Oakland on a regular basis.

I would love it if I could bring my bicycle on BART after work around 5pm to commute to Oakland from North Point in SF. Waiting until after 6:30pm is too late for me. My elderly mother, whom I take care of during several visits per week, lives in the Grand Lake area of Oakland. With almost 2 miles to connect on either side of the BART ride, it is too far to walk and makes it impossible for me to bring any heavy stuff. The bus takes long and is unreliable, particularly on the return trip – where I often feel afraid to walk alone late at night.

My total round trip travel time for walking + bus + BART + bus + waiting + walking adds up to over 3 hours for a round trip that is only ~13 miles each way! Sadly, that leaves me no time for my mother. Instead of getting to her house late and suffering a very late return to SF, I resort to driving a car. Worse yet, many times I have to forego making the trip at all due to costs in time, money and discomfort.

On the weekends, I take my bike on BART and it works out great. I can get door to door in half the time by having my bike to ride on either end of my BART trip. As a bonus, I get exercise and it is much, much cheaper.  Instead of adding to the traffic, missing my visits and being stressed, I would love to be able to commute with my bicycle + BART all the way thru.

In summary, taking my bike on BART means:

  • Faster, more frequent commute
  • Less pollution, traffic and stress for all
  • Greater health
  • Safer commute conditions
  • More disposable income to stimulate the economy
  • Happier mom and daughter
  • Through next week, we’ll be featuring these stories in anticipation of next week’s BART Board of Directors meeting. If you want to share your story about why lifting the bike ban on BART is important to you, email Marc Caswell at marc@sfbike.org.

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