Alternate Bike Transit Options Heading North
Bringing a bicycle on a train to get to Central NJ or New York City is more difficult than it should be. One problem is conflicting bike carriage times. Both NJ TRANSIT and SEPTA allow reverse peak bicycle access but the direction of commute travel actually doubles the bike restriction hours. NJ TRANSIT also has an arcane no bikes on holidays policy that is a product of the rules adopted by the Long Island Railroad and Metro North trains in the 1980's. SEPTA Regional Rail trains can also have very crowded aisles, especially on weekends. Fares have climbed steadily, up to about $34 round trip.
So what are the alternate options
1- Greyhound and Peter Pan - this is risky. Some employees require you to box the bicycle which adds $10 each way, equal to the cost of the round trip ticket. Intercity passengers also carry lots of luggage which can squeeze compartment space for bikes. As low as $20 round trip plus box fees if applicable.
2 - Chinatown Bus Services - Most of these carriers accept bicycles if there is sufficient room, their bargain basement fares have driven Greyhound and Peter Pan prices down to compete.
$20 Round Trip
3 - PATCO and the RiverLINE combo to Trenton plus NJ TRANSIT Rail - The longest trip timewise to New York City 3-3.5 hours,
however there are frequent departures every half hour between 6am and 9PM with service to midnight on Saturdays. There are no rush hour restrictions and RiverLINE trains have hanging bike racks which makes gives you a lot more flexibility if you prefer the train to the bus. There is also the option of riding over the Ben Franklin Bridge or even taking the Riverlink ferry to Camden. Cost for this PATCO-RiverLINE-NJ TRANSIT is about $24.
Neither PATCO or NJ TRANSIT publish combined timetables so we created our own simple web page showing the scheduled connections.
Combined PATCO-RiverLINE timetable