Friday, January 30, 2009

Folding Bikes On Amtrak and Peak Hour SEPTA Trains

Yes Amtrak allows folding bicycles, the official policy states:

Folding bicycles may be brought aboard certain passenger cars as carry-on baggage. Only true folding bicycles (bicycles specifically designed to fold up into a compact assembly) are acceptable. Generally, these bikes have frame latches allowing the frame to be collapsed, and small wheels. Regular bikes of any size, with or without wheels, are not considered folding bikes, and may not be stored as folding bikes aboard trains.

You must fold up your folding bicycle before boarding the train. You may store the bike only in luggage storage areas at the end of the car (or, in Superliners, on the lower level). You may not store bikes in overhead racks.

Not every conductor is familiar with the rules and from time to time some passengers have had problems, we recommend carrying this page change order from the official Amtrak On- Board Operations Manual. Download the PDF and either print it or store it in your PDA.

Amtrak Policy

Regional Rail

Folding bikes are also allowed during rush hours on Regional Rail. Even during the off peak times taking a folding bike on regional rail makes sense. Make sure you pick trains where you have room to sit with your bike, which must be folded at all times.

Folding bikes that have luggage rollers on them are the best ones to carry on to trains. A tough conductor will may force you to fold your bike and you may wind up carrying your folder down a narrow aisle. These rollers are often located on the rear rack and you can push the bike along with the saddle (like the Breezer i3 in the photo).

While folders are generally more expensive some retail in the $250 - 400 range. Breezer, Downtube and Dahon all offer low cost models.


Matt said...

In Boston, ticket agents stand at a hoke point at he start of the platform to ensure commuter rail passengers do no get on the Amtrak trains. One of the agents insist I fold my bike at said choke point and carry it the >50 feet down the platform to the parked train. No amount of persuasion or logic can get through to her.

When shown a printout of the policy above, her retort was "You're boarding the train right now, so you have to fold it right now".

Now when I see her on duty I get a Red Cap and I have my folded bike delivered to the entrance of the train on a hand truck. It's a waste of red cap resources but I'll be damned if I'm going to carry a folding bike 50' when I should be allowed to roll it...