Friday, February 26, 2010

SEPTA Bike Policy Now Ready For Prime Time

Thanks to the co-operation with SEPTA's Planning and Customer Service Departments the R1 Airport Line mixup has been corrected on SEPTA's bike and ride web page. With that now out of the way we can examine the changes to the Authority's new policy and what it means for bike access.

A long term goal of the Bicycle Coalition for the past 10 years has been to change the long standing policy of two bikes per train on regional rail to two bikes per car. The old policy limited options recreational riders who wanted to take their friends along and it created an air of uncertainty for those who depended on their bikes to cover the last 1 -3 miles to get to and from their suburban jobs.

It also matches the real capacity for the new Silverliner V cars which are due to be in service by the end of the year. These trains will have tie downs for bikes in the wheelchair accessible areas in each car. These areas are adjacent to the center doors on the new trains and will eliminate the somewhat tedious task of rolling your bike down the aisle.

Previously the rules stated that if a wheelchair passenger boarded the train then bicyclists were required to get off . The policy now allows the conductor to direct the cyclist to another appropriate location on the train. This policy reflects the solution that most conductors practiced when this conflict arose. The conductor still has the option of ejecting you from the train if it is crowded.

The flexibility of taking your folding bike on any transit vehicle has been a long time coming. Savvy commuters have been using folding bikes to access rush hour trains for years but it was an option that was not available for those who wished to take them on the trolleys, which do not permit full size bicycles. Allowing folding bikes inside buses also frees up the bus bike racks for other cyclists to use.

As with any large entity there is often a delay between a policy change and the communication of that policy to individual employees. We would strongly advise downloading and carrying the PDF version of the bike policy and taking it along just in case you are challenged.


Unknown said...

The PDF actually says "then bicyclists will be directed to an unoccupied designated area or asked to leave the train and accept a “continuation of trip” voucher to finish the trip on another vehicle."

What incentive is there to not continue to kick cyclists off???