Metrorail terminates bicycle ban on trains during rush hour
When Metrorail first opened, bikes were not allowed in the system at all. Since then, Metro has slowly loosened restrictions without significant problems.
Metrorail (Metro) passengers will now be able to bring their bikes onto the train at any time as the company has decided to end a long-standing restriction that prohibited bicycles during rush hours.
The policy change is expected to make Metro a more attractive travel option for reverse commuters (customers travelling outbound in the morning and inbound in the evening) who want to take their bike for the journey between the rail station and destination.
Metro reviewed its policy and determined that it could respond to requests from the bicycling community by ending the rush-hour bike restriction without significant negative effects. The review took into account that the majority of rush-hour trains are eight cars in length (the longest possible), and that new 7000-series trains provide more open space.
“We received requests from Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and the bicycle community asking us to take a fresh look at our policy,” said Metro Chief Operating Officer, Joe Leader. “We believe this change supports ridership growth by Metro and a commuting option for those who want to have a bike with them.”
Standard-sized bikes will be allowed at all times, on any car of any train, provided that space is available. Customers with bikes are reminded to use the doors at either end of the railcar – not the centre doors – and to avoid blocking doors or aisles. Metro will monitor implementation of the new policy to determine whether any modifications are necessary.
Greg Billing, WABA Executive Director, said: “Bicycling extends the reach of Metrorail for customers at the beginning and end of their trip. Members of the community have long wanted the option to bring a bicycle along with them on their rush hour trips, especially reverse commuters. I have to say that we’re pleasantly surprised with how flexible and accommodating Metro has been in responding quickly to this request. We are grateful to leadership at Metro for this policy change to permit bicycles during all hours of Metrorail operations.”
Roughly 0.8 per cent of Metro customers arrived at their rail station by bike in 2016. The WMATA Board has set a goal of increasing that percentage to 2.1 per cent by 2020.