Photo Uploaded by Rich_C_W on Flickr
Amtrak Surfliner bicycle rack
Originally uploaded by Rich_C_W
Amtrak and just about any other non-bike friendly public carrier often come up with the same excuse for not carrying bicycles-not enough room on our vehicles. So perhaps our proposal should address those concerns:
1 - Perform an independent study on how to accommodate bicycles on existing equipment
2 - Require that all new or refurbished passenger and baggage cars are bike accessible.
3 - Require covered bicycle parking at all Amtrak Stations (even if it is a single rack under an overhang.)
4 - Offer bike rentals (or bike sharing) at the busiest stations.
5- Ask Congress to include a small funding set aside specifically for Amtrak bike access improvements.
Previous bike access negotiations with LAB, the East Coast Greenway Alliance and the State of Vermont resulted in temporary agreements, Eventually Amtrak pulled the plug on the deals.
Amtrak is nearly alone with its no standard bikes policy, only two commuter rail systems in North America VRE and MARC (both systems ironically serving Washington D.C) have outright bans on bicycles.
If Congress does not force the hand of Amtrak by tying funding to bike access in the next transportation bill then we as bicyclists should start to think about our legal options.