Senator Schumer Leading the Charge to Get Bikes on Amtrak Trains

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Photo by Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority

Commuting by bike makes a lot of sense in a big city, unless you have a far commute.  Commuting by train makes a lot of sense too, unless you don’t live or work close to a train station.  Bikes are great on vacations too, if you can get them there.  While some areas accommodate bikes on their trains exceedingly well, such as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority pictured above, other areas and routes offer barriers such as increased fees or having to box your bike, if you can bring them at all.  Hoping to increase tourism in upstate New York, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer urged Amtrak to add cargo cars on two lines, the Adirondack and Ethan Allen covering a combined 622 miles, exclusively for carrying bikes.  You can read more  here or here.

Comments

PaulCJr - 06/20/13 - 11:19pm

What the senator should be really championing is the Northeast corridor. If people were able to put the bikes on trains from DC to Boston, ridership would be huge.

Eric Hancock - 06/20/13 - 11:56pm

Yea. Amtrak is borderline hostile to bicycles in the Northeast. NJ Transit is far friendlier.

ChadQuest - 06/21/13 - 12:07am

If i could easily take my bike on a train, it would open up so many doors for me.

sardinian rider - 06/21/13 - 5:35am

I have a feeling that that guy my smell pretty bad. I’m gonna leave my bike and gladly move to another cart FFS..

Mark P - 06/21/13 - 9:37am

@PaulCJr: the problem is that NE corridor ridership is already huge. These days there’s rarely a free seat on the NE regional. Amtrak would need to add a car during its peak hours, or run the bike train during the 10 am – 4 pm off peak hours. At least now in DC, NYC, and Boston you’ve got bike share at the end of the trip.

Ant'ney - 06/21/13 - 10:34am

Damn straight on the NE corridor thing. I go from NJ to DC a few times a year for 2 days at a time. A bike would be PERFECT for getting me to the Amtrak, and then from Union Station to my hotel, and then as my transportation while in DC. But no, Amtrak would NEVER allow a bike on the train.
Yet the Acela is rarely full. C’mon Amtrak! Get with the times!!!!!!!

paulpalf - 06/21/13 - 11:55am

In the meantime, you can just buy a Brompton….

Alpha W. - 06/21/13 - 2:54pm

We have bike racks available in a special car on the Cascades route. A lot of people use it but it has serious drawbacks. You can’t put your bike in there yourself, it has to be hung up by a baggage handler and so they charge extra per ticket ($10!!!). Also, there’s a length/type restriction on the bikes which eliminates those of us with tandems or longtails, we have to dismantle & box.

Personally, I would love to be able to walk my (any kind of) bike onto a train, lock it down and take the 2.5 hour trip up to PDX, roll it out, ride around, and return the same way. It would certainly increase my use of Amtrak quite a bit.

J B - 06/21/13 - 3:47pm

I guess this sounds like a great idea, but you what if you live in the other 80% of the state? It’s really only going to benefit people who live in NYC or Albany.

JimmyZ - 06/22/13 - 8:49am

what is it about bicycles that make taking them on mass transit so complicated? I guess a specially equipped train car is a big cost, but there’s lots of cargo space on buses and planes, yet bicycles are so restricted. Where I live the city bus has two bike racks on the front, first come first served. It has only been available for me to use when riding alone, when I ride with someone else, there’s always one bike on there already. No thanks, we’ll just keep riding our bikes. Still, it’s a cool idea, just not a real solution.

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